This spring, Wetaskiwin’s Public Works department will plant 41 fruit-bearing trees and shrubs in Montgomery Park, at 53 Street and Centennial Drive.

This spring, Wetaskiwin’s Public Works department will plant 41 fruit-bearing trees and shrubs in Montgomery Park, at 53 Street and Centennial Drive.

Urban Food Forest to grow in Wetaskiwin’s Montgomery Park

Apples, plums, cherries and more will be planted this spring

An urban food forest will soon be growing in Wetaskiwin’s Montgomery Park.

This spring, Wetaskiwin’s Public Works department will plant 41 fruit-bearing trees and shrubs in Montgomery Park, at 53 Street and Centennial Drive. The tentative planting date is June 3, depending on availability from the nursery.

The initiative grew from a proposal from Councillor Gabrielle Blatz last March that highlighted the benefits of urban forests.

In an urban food forest, mainly perennial edibles are planted using the permaculture guild system – trees and shrubs will regrow year after year without replanting, and each plant contributes beneficially to the success of the others.

The concept has grown in popularity across North America over the last few decades, with other food forests planted in Alberta communities such as Edmonton and Red Deer. Rather than replacing existing natural forests, food forests stand alongside their natural counterparts, offering urban carbon sequestration, wildlife and pollinator habitat, water retention and of course, food.

Within a few years, Wetaskiwin’s trees should be producing a bountiful harvest that everyone can enjoy.

“I think it’s great that we can offer fresh fruit to our community members through something as simple as growing it ourselves,” said Mayor Tyler Gandam. “We can all look forward to grabbing an apple or a few raspberries while using the park or as we pass through on the trail.”

Montgomery Park’s central location and the recent addition of community garden spaces makes it ideal for the urban food forest, which will offer a beautiful, easily accessed green space for the community.

The tasty array of fruit trees soon to be growing in the park include:

  • 4 Goodland eating apples
  • 4 Honeycrisp eating apples
  • 4 Pembina eating plum
  • 3 Brookred eating plum
  • 6 Combination eating pear
  • 8 Aurora honeyberry (Haskap)
  • 8 Tundra honeyberry
  • 2 Nanking cherry
  • 2 Native raspberry.

For more information or to volunteer to help plant some trees, contact the Public Works department at 780-361-4436 or publicworks@wetaskiwin.ca.

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