Gwen here! July 8th marked our last Orchard Stewards session of the year. These Stewards have been through 12 sessions, involving everything from preserving the harvest to art in the community. With the dedication of our Stewards, we have been able to care for 15 different community orchards, preserve 100 fruit trees–young and old–and build orchard houses that consolidate the Stewards’ resources at their site.
I have been inspired by the passion of our Stewards to tend to the sensitive fruit trees they have planted or come across, and engage their communities in harvesting fresh Baltimorean fruit. Their questions challenged me as the Stewardship Coordinator, which made me a more responsible fruit grower. As I expanded my knowledge on compost and sprays, Stewards were able to apply useful, non-toxic sprays to ensure a healthy bounty free from pests and diseases. Without their patience and love for orcharding, our trees would be having a hard time in this heat!
As we close the window on the Orchard Stewards program, I will be moving onto the Volunteer Coordinator position at Civic Works. I will forever be grateful for the time I have spent with the volunteers, staff and AmeriCorps members at the Baltimore Orchard Project. I have seen the strength of resiliency, pride, and creativity and what it can bring to spread growth in our communities. Thank you to all who have mentored me. And a big thank you to Eric Sargent–my partner in crime through it all.
Please still send me pictures of your trees–healthy and not so healthy. My new email is firstname.lastname@example.org. I hope to bring that many more volunteers to the BOP community.