City’s first urban orchard coming to Ben Nobleman Park

WHEN SUSAN POIZNER saw an urban orchard on a visit to Vancouver, she had the idea to bring the concept to Toronto.

“I just had these beautiful visions, of blossoming trees and people coming to harvest the fruit and share the fruit,” she said. “It would be a vibrant hub for the community.”

That vision is coming to life this spring. Coun. Joe Mihevc announced the city will plant 14 fruit trees, including pear, plum, cherry and apricot trees, in the northwest section of Ben Nobleman Park on Eglinton Avenue West near Bathurst Street. They will also plant nine flowering and shade trees such as hickory, serviceberry and pawpaw trees.

Neighbours have expressed concerns about the fruit creating a mess in the park or attracting bees, Poizner said, but she is confident that, with the help of dedicated volunteers, the project should run smoothly.

Her gardening group, Growing for Green, and another local group, Not Far From The Tree, have already acquired approximately 80 volunteers, from all over the city.

“We didn’t even really have to try that hard,” Poizner said. “A few people came from outside of the neighbourhood, too, saying, ‘We wish we had this kind of initiative in our community.’”

The volunteers will be responsible for pruning the trees and harvesting the fruit. The food collected, which will likely not grow for another two years or so after the trees are planted, will be distributed among volunteers and donated to local food agencies.

Article exclusive to TRNTO