NCAT Horticulturist Helps Community Orchard Get Growing

Guy Ames (left) and Fayetteville Mayor Lioneld Jordan unload pear and apples trees for the Community Orchard.
Guy Ames (left) and Fayetteville Mayor Lioneld Jordan unload pear and apples trees for the Community Orchard. Photo: Robyn Metzger, NCAT

Guy Ames conducted a free community workshop, “Planting a Fruit Tree & 1st Year Care,” on Feb. 20 at the sight of the first Community Orchard in Fayetteville, Ark., in conjunction with the city’s “Fruit Rootin’” ground breaking ceremony for the orchard. About 75 people attended the event, including Fayetteville’s Mayor Lioneld Jordan, Parks and Recreation staff, Extension agents, community leaders, volunteers, and students from a nearby private nonprofit elementary school.

Establishment of the orchard, which will include pears, apples, and pecan trees, was made possible with funding from Keep America Beautiful and the UPS Foundation.  Derek Linn, City of Fayetteville Urban Forester, spearheaded the effort to secure funding for the project. Guy is serving as an advisor for the city’s orchard endeavor; he provided an initial site assessment last fall and recommended varieties of trees appropriate for Northwest Arkansas.  During Thursday’s workshop Guy covered topics such as how to prepare the soil, apply mulch, and protect the trees from pests; following his talk, he led volunteers through the process of actually planting the trees at the orchard site.

FoodCorps Arkansas service member Kelsie Shearrer uses a mattock to break up the soil before planting a pear tree.
FoodCorps Arkansas service member Kelsie Shearrer breaks up the soil before planting a pear tree. Photo: Robyn Metzger, NCAT

Guy will continue to provide guidance to the city and the volunteers who will care for the orchard, and in just a couple of years Fayetteville citizens will be able to enjoy the fruits of this community labor.

Hear Guy and Derek speak about Fayetteville’s Community Orchard in this interview, which aired on Fayetteville’s NPR affiliate, KUAF.

Interested in establishing an orchard for the people of your community? Check out the publication Community Orchards, available from ATTRA – National Sustainable Agriculture Information Service.

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