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Agassiz community orchard takes root

First trees planted late last week

More than 200 trees in the new community orchard are set to bear fruit for Agassiz-Harrison by next year. 

Agassiz-Harrison Community Services (AHCS) and Earthwise Society recently teamed up to establish the Community Farm Orchard north of Agassiz.

The Community Farm Orchard is designed to help locals have access to fresh fruit, including varieties of apples, pears and plums. It is located on Earthwise Agassiz's 58-acre facility on Golf Road. 

AHCS executive director Diane Janzen said the idea for the orchard came from a discussion among the Agassiz-Harrison Food Coalition a number of years ago.

"Food security and the cost of food is a big deal for everybody," Janzen told The Observer. "They had an idea to put this plan into production so not only would they have fruit trees but they're going vegetables as well. The idea is that land will be producing fruit and vegetables that will then be donated back to AHCS." 

AHCS board chair Tom Walker called the new orchard "the perfect project." 

"This partnership to grow and sustain a Community Orchard will bolster our local food security with nutritious, fresh fruit," Walker stated.

Janzen estimates the first harvest should be available by next year. The harvested fruit will be harvested and donated to those in need throughout Agassiz-Harrison via the local food bank. 

Several volunteers spent hours planting hundreds of trees, purchased through a grant from the provincial government. 

"This whole area is already so special, and now people living here will be able to be even more involved in their community through this innovative orchard project," said Chilliwack-Kent MLA Kelli Paddon in a statement. "To be able to teach people about growing fruit and running a farm stand, while also helping feed the community fresh, healthy, local fruit is an amazing example of how the province can partner with community organizations to work towards food security." 

The Community Farm Orchard Project is a pilot initiative until the end of next year, at which point ACHS and Earthwise will evaluate and work to extend the project for the future. 

Janzen said the community can support the orchard by volunteering and donating. To learn more about specific needs and volunteering opportunities, contact AHCS at 604-796-2585 or Earthwise Agassiz at (604) 946-9828. 


Adam Louis

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