St. Ann Center’s new Bucyrus Campus will soon be branching out, literally. The Campus, at 2450 West North Avenue, was chosen as the winner of one of five new community orchards awarded by Victory Garden Initiative (VGI).
All communities in Milwaukee County were encouraged to apply to cultivate up to 30 fruit and nut trees in their neighborhoods. Of the many applicants, VGI’s Fruity Nutty 5 Committee chose: St. Ann Center for intergenerational Care-Bucyrus campus, Centro Hispano, Hales Corners Environmental Committee, Urban Eden Community Garden, and a partnership between Milwaukee Jewish Day School and Westside Academy to receive an orchard. In total, 150 plants will get growing this year to feed their communities a bounty of fresh-picked food, including cherries, peaches, hazelnuts, pears, apples, plums and more.
This year’s Fruity Nutty 5 Contest launched on November 1, 2015, and winners were announced at the Fruity Nutty Affair last month. Diane Beckley, COO of the Bucyrus Campus, accepted the award. After this year’s planting, VGI’s Fruity Nutty 5 Contest will have planted 25 orchards throughout Milwaukee County.
“The orchard will help our children learn where their food comes from, how to best use fruits and nuts, and why it’s important to take care of our Earth,” says Sister Edna Lonergan, president of St. Ann Center, an all-ages day care that brings health and educational services to children, adults, the elderly and those with disabilities. “We’re excited about the life an orchard will add to our Bucyrus Campus…the fragrant blossoms everyone will enjoy in spring, and the fresh fruit and nuts at harvest. That’s when our children and adults will start baking fruit pies together. The children will learn about measuring and fractions, and they’ll help our older adults experience the fun of baking.”
The community orchard will be enjoyed by the entire neighborhood, Lonergan adds. “People will see the beauty of the trees and share in their bounty. It’s a living example of why it’s important to take care of our earth.”
Neighborhood orchards provide more than delicious, natural, local fruits and nuts, VGI points out. They cultivate roots for closer communities. They supplement grocery bills and get people outside, enjoying and preserving our environment.
Neighborhoods interested in this fruitful program can apply next winter to win your own orchard! To learn more, go to VictoryGardenInitiative.org/fruitynutty or call (414) 431-0888.