Guelph Community Orchard
The Guelph Community Orchard Project (GCOP) operates on two sites: Harcourt United Church, 87 Dean Avenue, and the Guelph Community Christian School (GCCS),195 College Avenue W. Both locations were planted in September 2012 as the result of a grant sponsored by Tree Canada/Loblaw/Taste of Nature. In July 2012, a work party prepared the planting area using permaculture practices – cardboard, grass cuttings, water and mulch, donated by a local arborist. Some of the plantings include: native hazelnuts, Stanley and Newport plums, Saskatoon berries, Asian Pears, Paw-paws, elderberries and currants.
In 2013, a grant from Carrot Cache Community Resources Inc. provided funds to complete plantings of Arctic Kiwi, apple trees, haskaps, strawberries, aronia berries, mountain mint, thornless blackberries and asparagus. Several of the fruit and nut bearing trees and plants have had plenty of fruit which birds and other critters have enjoyed before humans could pick them!
In 2019 we planted a Cherry Plum Tree, dedicated to winners of TG’s Resilience Awards. So far the recipients have been: eMerge Guelph(2018), Wellington Water Watchers (2019), and 10C (2019).
The orchard is maintained by volunteers and the fruit and nuts are available for anyone in the community to harvest. Harcourt aims to donate 50% of the yield to Chalmers Community Services Centre and to Hope House. Both organizations' mandates are to aid access to healthy food. Once fully established, there is a plan to harvest seeds and plant stock to share with other organizations.
If you wish to volunteer in maintaining and gardening at the GCOP, please contact Jill Gill, Project Manager at email@example.com.
Students from the University of Guelph's Project Serve volunteer program have helped at the Orchard each September since 2012, including planting the original trees in that first year! This and other volunteer work parties with various organizations (i.e. United Way), spread over the growing season, helps maintain GCOP!