New Stories From 'Urban Agriculture Notes'
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Category — Fruit

Vancouver’s TreeKeepers program wants to become the biggest collective urban orchard in North America

The trees, all on dwarf root stock, are heavily discounted at only $10 each

Apples: Ginger Gold Apple, Liberty Apple, Cameo Apple, Red Jonaprince Apple, Crimson Gala Apple

Plums: Santa Rosa Plum, Early Italian Plum,

Figs: Brown Turkey Fig, Desert King Fig, Peter’s Honey Fig

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March 4, 2014   Comments Off

Forgotten Fruits: The stories behind Britain’s traditional fruit and vegetables


A Guide to Britain’s Traditional Fruit and Vegetables from Orange Jelly Gooseberries and Dan’s Mistake Turnips

By Christopher Stocks
Windmill Books
2009 – 320 pages

Description from Guardian Bookstore:

Britain has an extraordinarily rich heritage of traditional varieties of fruit and vegetables, but how many of us know the fascinating and sometimes eccentric stories behind them?

Who was the Mr Cox, for example, who gave his name to Cox’s Orange Pippins, now the most popular apple in the world? Which conference were Conference pears named after? Where do Victoria plums really come from? What is so mysterious about the apple called the Bascombe Mystery? What role did beetroot play in ending the slave trade, and how did gooseberries help Charles Darwin arrive at his theory of evolution? Who started the uniquely British love-affair with rhubarb and runner beans? When and where was growing potatoes illegal? And how was the Spanish Inquisition responsible for our carrots being orange?

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December 23, 2013   Comments Off

Vancouver’s Mayor Opens ‘Largest Urban Orchard in North America’

Vancouver Mayor Gregor Robertson (left) and Solefood’s Michael Ableman (right) plant a fruit tree, on July 7, as they open an urban orchard on a vacant Vancouver lot at Main & Terminal. Photograph by: Ward Perrin, PNG.

More than 400 trees have been planted to bring new life to vacant Vancouver lot

By Zoe Mcknight
Vancouver Sun
July 7, 2013


VANCOUVER, BC — A forgotten brownfield at the corner of urban and industrial is not the place you’d expect to find lemon, fig and persimmon trees bearing fruit.

But in three to five years, over 400 trees planted on a vacant lot at Main Street and Terminal Avenue should do just that in what the City of Vancouver is calling the largest urban orchard in North America.

The orchard is run by Solefood co-founder Michael Ableman, who with partner Seann Dory already grows produce on nearly five acres scattered across downtown Vancouver.

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July 8, 2013   Comments Off

A Map of Every Urban Plant You Can Snack On


Over 5,000 examples of cherry, pear and apple trees, not to mention olives (4,442), plums (1,424) and almonds (343)

By Henry Grabar
The Atlantic Cities
June 28, 2013


Last summer, Ethan Welty stopped buying fruit. He didn’t need to pay for it anymore: he could pick nearly everything he needed from the trees on the streets of Boulder, Colorado.

At first, he scanned the canopy for apples to use in his home-brewed beer. But there was more. Hanging in the sidewalk foliage were peaches, apricots, walnuts, mulberries and plums. And so Welty, a PhD student researching glacier movement, began to map the urban orchard.

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July 6, 2013   Comments Off

Wildflowers or Apples? Can’t We Have Both? – Urban Orchards are Good

Cherries. Image via Flickr, by Gordana.

William Kerrigan is the Cole Professor of American History at Muskingum University, and the author of Johnny Appleseed and the American Orchard, which tells the story of the old world apple in America

By William Kerrigan
American Orchard
June 15, 2013


The problem with Ms. Anzelone’s argument that urban orchards and food forests are “monocultures” is that it doesn’t much resemble reality, and she could learn a great deal by visiting these sites and speaking with their volunteers. Organizations like the Philadelphia Orchard Project aren’t exactly planting acres of “monoculture.” These modest-sized orchards typically incorporate a variety of fruit and nut trees and berry bushes, with each variety blossoming at different times, thereby offering pollinators an extended feeding period. The Boston Tree Party’s “urban, decentralized orchard” is really just pairs of apple trees dispersed throughout the city. Seattle’s new Beacon Food Forest, currently just 1.5 acres with aspirations to grow to a total of 7 acres, explodes with edible plant diversity. In fact, most urban orchards contain gardens of other flowering plants as well.

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June 19, 2013   Comments Off

Greedy Gardeners – Urban Orchards are Bad

Illustration by Lilli Carré.

Mariellé Anzelone, an urban conservation biologist, is the executive director of NYC Wildflower Week.

By Marielle Anzelone
New York Times
June 14, 2013


Rooftop vegetable gardens were one thing, but the urban agricultural movement has gone a step too far. A new brand of activists want to incorporate fruit trees into the fabric of city life by turning our limited green space into woody groves filled with apples, cherries and plums. One group, the Guerrilla Grafters, has gone so far as to graft the branches of fruit trees onto street-side ornamental trees in San Francisco.

At first blush these campaigns appear well intentioned. The groups are planting trees in underserved neighborhoods to provide access to healthy foods. What could be wrong with that? Don’t misunderstand me, I like fruit as much as the next person. It’s not the orchards themselves that irk me — it’s the shortsightedness they represent.

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June 19, 2013   Comments Off

Historic Orchards in London


Urban Fruit for Urban Communities

By The London Orchard Project

This map gives a historical overview of the extent of orchards in London in the 1890s – with a noticeable concentration of orchards in South-West London. It shows the importance of orchards to feed the capital in late Victorian times.

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June 9, 2013   Comments Off

1000 tree, one acre urban orchard coming to Vancouver

Solefood’s urban farms supply high-quality produce to farmers markets and about 30 local restaurants; fruit trees are coming soon. Photo by Catcall.

Nonprofit organization hopes more food production will help provide longer-term work for employees

By Yolande Cole
Georgia Straight
March 28, 2013


In May, the social enterprise plans to expand with a one-acre urban orchard located on a city-owned site at Main Street and Terminal Avenue.

Michael Ableman, cofounder of Solefood, said the orchard will feature nearly 1,000 trees, bearing fruit such as quince, persimmon, Meyer lemons, pears, and plums.

“I think this is exciting, because it’s breaking new ground, if you will,” Ableman told the Georgia Straight by phone from his home on Salt Spring Island. “Relative to anything else in the city, it’s pretty significant, and I think that if we can prove it as a potential system, we could see these types of trees lining the boulevards of all our streets and changing the atmosphere of our cities.”

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March 29, 2013   Comments Off

Princess Park Children’s Play Garden in Toronto


Our garden has 4 kinds of fruit trees; apple, pear, peach and cherry.

By Dan O’leary
Coordinatinor Princess Park Children’s Play Garden
March 3, 2013

Its the first week of March and the time to prune fruit trees is now.  

Pruning means to cut away unwanted branches. Pruning devices are used to make the cuts.  They are like oversized scissors and are  called secateurs.  Pruning is done to control shape of the tree,  remove diseased areas  and take off branches that touch so fruit production is maximized.  

Our garden has 4 kinds of fruit trees; apple, pear, peach and cherry.

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March 4, 2013   Comments Off

Peter Kearney shows us how to grow mangos

“I stand in front of one of our mango trees which has at least 300 beautiful Bowen mangoes on it. This year has been a great season for mangoes in our sub tropical climate of Brisbane.”

Cityfood Growers is located in Samford, Queensland, Australia

Cityfood Growers Blog post
Jan 4, 2013


You can extend the cropping season of your mango trees by choosing early, mid and late cropping varieties (cultivars). In addition, you can also choose cultivars that are more dwarf in size as the mango trees can grow quite large, up to 15m high) if not pruned. In our Gardener subscriber site, you can find a large number of mango cultivars grouped into cropping, dwarf and heritage and sorted based on your local climate profile. The cultivar we grow at our place in Brisbane is Kensington Pride which is a very common Bowen mango variety for Australia.

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January 27, 2013   Comments Off

California’s First Ever Public Fruit Park in the County of Los Angeles

An L.A. County public park is now home to a community orchard located at 12601 South Isis Avenue in the unincorporated community north of El Segundo. Photo by The Office of Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas.

Grand Opening On Saturday, January 5, 2013 At Del Aire Park

Press Release
Dec 26, 2012

The trees were planted with the support of the Los Angeles County Arts Commission Civic Art Program and the guidance of Fallen Fruit, an artists’ collaborative founded by David Burns, Matias Viegener and Austin Young, whose mission is to unite communities through the creation of sustainable public art projects. Del Aire residents planted 27 fruit trees, eight grape vines, more than 60 trees were given away to neighbors. Once the trees bear fruit, all park visitors will be encouraged to pick from the new edible landscape at harvest time. Within three years, the trees are expected to be completely sustainable and drought tolerant.

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January 3, 2013   2 Comments

Vancouver’s Copely Community Orchard gets perennial fruit production course

EYA is offering a 5-month, high quality Organic Orchard Management Training course

2 Saturdays per month, from February to June, 2013
$100 ($75 for youth under 25)

A 5-month program designed for urban agriculture enthusiast looking to add organic perennial food production to their skill set. In-class, theoretical workshops will be complimented by hand-on skill building at Copely Community Orchard.

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December 21, 2012   Comments Off

Film traces a worldwide obsession in ‘The Fruit Hunters’

Montreal author Adam Gollner, left, and Yung Chang present their findings at Jean Talon Market. Photograph by Allen McInnis, Montreal Gazette.

Documentary is based on Montrealer Adam Gollner’s book

By T’cha Dunlevy
Montreal Gazette Film Critic
November 23, 2012


“I had (Gollner’s book) with me on my travels on the festival circuit for Up the Yangtze,” Chang said. “I went to Brazil and Tel Aviv, and places with different kinds of fruit, and I used the book as a guide to find them. I felt like I was on an adventure.”

Chang’s film brought him to Hawaii, Bali, Borneo and the Amazon in pursuit of rare fruits, the stories behind them and the people fighting to preserve them. Like Richard Campbell and Noris Ledesma, curators at Florida’s Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden. Or Isabella Dalla Ragione, an Italian agronomist who traces the background of fig varieties through Renaissance paintings.

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November 23, 2012   Comments Off

NPR: The Strangely True Tale Of Johnny Appleseed

He’s legend now, but Johnny Appleseed was as odd as his myth.

By Kee Malesky
Oct 20, 2012


He was first noticed by history in 1801 when he arrived on horseback at the farm of John Stedden in Licking Creek, Ohio. Stedden thought Chapman was rather eccentric, but he listened to the man’s plans to head west and plant apple seeds along the way for future settlers.

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October 21, 2012   Comments Off

Cities are starting to take advantage of the fact that unlike money, food does grow on trees

All of the fruit trees on the public boulevards of Vancouver are now mapped. Link here. Vancouver plans to capitalize on nature with a new plan for 150,000 food-bearing trees.

All-You-Can-Eat Food Forests: Coming to a City Near You

By Megan Bedard
Take Part
Oct. 8, 2012


Consider it a modern take on the legendary tale of Johnny Appleseed. Vancouver, B.C., has announced plans to plant 150,000 fruit and nut trees on city streets, in parks, and on city-owned lands in the next eight years, reports the Vancouver Sun.

At the moment, the city has about 600 fruit and nut trees on city streets, and another 425 can be found in the city’s parks, community gardens, and pocket orchards.

“Street trees play an important role in helping Vancouver adapt to climate change, manage stormwater run-off, support biodiversity, and even provide food,” Mayor Gregor Robertson said in a statement to the city’s council last week.

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October 20, 2012   1 Comment