By Derek Lirange, Assistant Program Coordinator, Worcester Tree Initiative
EAT Center Orchard and Gardens on Jacques Ave
The first was planted on Jaques Ave on May 27th and the whole affair was a huge success! Several groups collaborated in support of the orchard. TD Green Streets gave a grant which funded the fence built around the open lot to protect the trees from vandalism and ultimately to allow for a full harvest by the farmers tending the lot. The grant also paid for the trees that were planted and a translator who will work with the farmers. Worcester Common Ground purchased the lot at 7 Jaques from the City of Worcester, which abutted a lot they already owned, 9 Jaques. The whole site is being designated as an EAT Center site by the partners who collaboratively manage the EAT Center Initiative: Worcester Common Ground, Lutheran Social Services and the Regional Environmental Council. The orchard and future gardens will be tended by two families from Bhutan who come to the project from Lutheran Social Services’ New Lands Farm.
The day couldn’t have been better; despite dire weather forecasts the rain held off for the most part and gave us wonderful conditions to plant in. The volunteers from TD Bank and our friends, Buddha and Ganesh, refugees from Bhutan who will ultimately be tending the lot with their families, arrived early to get the planting started with WTI staff. We were able to plant all 19 trees (a variety of apples, pears, peaches, plums, and cherries) before 2:30 PM, when our guest speakers arrived.
The ribbon cutting ceremony featured speakers Congressman James P. McGovern, Senator Harriette Chandler, City Manager Ed Augustus, CEO of the Chamber of Commerce Tim Murray, TD Bank Senior Vice President Rob Babcock, Worcester Tree Initiative’s own Mary Knittle, Worcester Common Ground’s Yvette Dyson, and New Lands Farm’s Ashley Carter. It was noted that this site is another landmark in Worcester’s progress toward integrating agriculture into its landscape. This is not the only place one will find fruit in Worcester but it is among the first orchards of its kind.
Besides the trees, one of the most joyous sites of the day was at the end of the ceremony, as students from Chandler Elementary School across the street were released from school and shared cupcakes with us. The kids were so excited to see the new space and eat some sweets. Thanks to Worcester Common Ground’s donation of the cupcakes, every face left with frosting around their mouths, the first of many sweet treats that will come from this wonderful grove.
Edward Winslow Lincoln Memorial Grove on Newton Hill
The second orchard planted was at the top of Newton Hill on June 5th. The orchard was planted for the benefit of the community and as a memorial to Edward Winslow Lincoln, a longstanding Commissioner of Parks in Worcester who tirelessly worked to better Elm Park and Newton Hill in his 30 year tenure. The memorial grove was conceived by Rick Miller and the Friends of Newton Hill with the assistance of Worcester Tree Initiative. Worcester Tree Initiative staff and Doherty High School Environmental Science students and teachers planted the trees in the rain and not one complaint was heard from anyone! We planted apple, pear, plum, peach, and cherry trees around the perimeter of the open space at the top of the hill and have two more to plant in the fall. The trees were provided by the Worcester Tree Initiative and will be maintained by the Friends of Newton Hill led by Rick Miller, and by Doherty High students supervised by their teacher, Stacie Hill.
The Friends of Newton Hill and Worcester Tree Initiative would like to extend their thanks once again on this occasion to Congressman James P McGovern, Senator Harriette Chandler, State Representative John Mahoney, City Manager Ed Augustus, Asst. Commissioner Rob Antonelli, and our own Co-Chair Mary Knittle for speaking at the memorial ceremony at Doherty High School in celebration of this community orchard. Their tone was set by an introductory history of Newton Hill given by Brittany Legasey and a gracious welcome from Rick Miller who personally introduced each speaker as a friend.
The fruit on Newton Hill will be available for harvest by anyone who comes to the park so be sure to make the walk up for a visit!