Commercial Drive BIA partnering with EYA on community orchard project
In July 2011, the City of Vancouver began working with the Environmental Youth Alliance (EYA), a non-profit charity based in Vancouver, to develop a large, 1.2 acre vacant plot of city owned land in the Cedar Cottage neighbourhood (at Vanness and Copley, just west of the Nanaimo skytrain) as a new urban agriculture initiative focused on perennial food systems.
In the early 1900s, this particular plot of land was an orchard owned by Richard Theophilus Copley and the project has thus adopted the name the “Copley Community Orchard”. EYA will collaborate with the Commercial Drive Business Society and the City of Vancouver to further engage neighbourhood businesses and residents in food and ecological projects that contribute to the sustainability of the area.
The Copley Community Orchard project will have a unique approach. Rather than the typical allotments of a community garden, larger communal tree and shrub plantings will be tended by groups of neighbours, community organizations, and school groups.
Approximately 200 new trees and over 150 fruiting shrubs will be planted on the site, which will be comprised of a youth education/production area, collective orchard, community celebration and gathering space, accessible garden beds, native garden, pollinator pasture, apiary, and heritage fruit tree area (the site already has 9 apple trees dating back to the early 1900s).
This project addresses a number of greening objectives (contributing to air quality, urban heat island effect, shading, and beautification) but what makes this project unique and distinct is that also contributes to food security in the city. Food production, particularly fruit trees, resonates with and brings people together as many will reminisce about their grandparents apple tree they used to climb and pick; we see the potential in orchards to foster an appreciation of where our food comes from, build a consciousness of the essential contributions trees make to our community, and create stronger connections to the places we live. Please visit the project website at www.copleycommunityorchard.com for more information on how to get involved.
Download the conceptual plan for the site (1.0 MB PDF)
Project made possible by the generous support of the City of Vancouver