Nurseries To The Rescue

Nurseries To The Rescue

What’s a good way to get school-age kids to eat fruit? One school district in Council, ID, may have found one. The school district is growing its own orchard.

Dawn Holmes, Council Future Farmers of America (FFA) adviser and agricultural and natural sciences teacher at the local high school, spearheaded the orchard, which is located on school grounds where an old tennis court was removed to make room.

The idea of an orchard began when an Idaho nutrition program offered a grant to schools to grow food on school property. At first, Holmes wasn’t crazy about the idea because most gardening work is done in the summer, when students would not be in school. “But then the idea of an orchard came to mind,” Holmes says, “where students could work in the early spring on pruning … and then when the kids come back it will be time to harvest.”

Working Together

The orchard was planted last school year, and students in the horticulture class and plant science class will take care of it. “They did soil testing before we even planted the trees,” Holmes says. “Then they did some variety selection and researched on the Internet different varieties that might grow in our
climate. ”

Trees were provided by Van Well Nursery, Dave Wilson Nursery, and C&O Nursery. “They either gave us trees or sold us trees at the huge lot prices,” Holmes says. About half of the district’s 20 teachers pitched in to help buy trees, and some student organizations helped purchase trees, as well. Home Depot donated $100 to buy shovels.

Students in the horticulture class also worked with grade school students, designing mini workshops to teach the younger students differences in varieties for apples and cherries, hand pruner maintenance, and parts of a tree. “We had a great time with the fifth and sixth graders doing that,” Holmes says. The 50 trees that make up the orchard were planted by students in the plant sciences, horticulture, and eighth grade earth science classes in less than a week. Half of the orchard consists of apples (Gala, Golden Delicious, and McIntosh); the rest is made up of cherries, peaches, prunes, and pears, and Holmes hopes to add grapes soon.

Once it’s ripe, students will pick the fruit, which will be used in a variety of ways. Some fruit will be used for the school’s “nutrition break,” a daily break at 10 a.m. for students to eat, because most don’t eat breakfast before they come to school. The fruit will also be given to the lunch program and used in cooking classes. Any fruit left over will be given away or sold as a fundraiser by Council’s FFA chapter.

Growing Fruit Lovers

Not only will the orchard offer fresh fruit to students, it is also providing employment in the community. While school was out for the summer, a student helped out with fruit removal through the Youth Conservation Corps. A group of students participating in a summer work program took care of the weeding. “It’s providing employment for our kids in this area,” Holmes says.

Holmes says the biggest setback the orchard is facing is soil quality. The soil is rocky, and what is not rocky is good soil, but has a lot of clay. “The trees look good right now. There’s a lot of growth on them for this spring growth,” she says. “Hopefully we’ll be able to pick some fruit in a couple of years.”

Holmes says the response has been positive from this small district — 240 students, with more than 70 being involved in the project. “It’s a real learning process with the soil testing and working with the younger students over at the grade school,” she says. “And just the idea of having this for many years to come, something permanent they can see and take ownership of — the students of Council are hard at work making their community a more beautiful and bountiful place to live.”

“One of my hopes is that kids will also learn to like to eat fruit and then maybe they’ll get to plant a tree in their own backyard,” she says. “Even if not, at least they’ll enjoy being a consumer of fruit.”

Leave a Reply

Fruits Stories
sprayer nozzles
Equipment
November 18, 2017
Tips to Winterize Your Sprayers
Taking the steps to properly prepare your sprayer for the offseason will help to reduce costly problems in the spring, says engineer and spray technology expert. Read More
Vegetable field irrigation in Florida
Citrus
November 17, 2017
Sustainable Farming Projects in Florida to Share the Wealth
St. Johns River Water Management District grants backing to 12 on-farm plans aimed at resource conservation and nutrient reduction. Read More
closeup of turkey with another foul in the background
Farm Management
November 17, 2017
Consumers Forking out Less This Year for Classic Thanksgiving Meal
Annual American Farm Bureau average price report reveals you can host a fine Turkey Day feast for less than $50. Read More
Apples & Pears
November 16, 2017
USApple Seeking Nominations for Young Apple Leaders Program
Deadline to apply for program is Dec. 31. Read More
Citrus
November 14, 2017
USDA Announces Grants to Promote IPM Practices
Methyl bromide transition, crop protection management among programs funded. Read More
Stone Fruit
November 14, 2017
Southeastern Peach Growers Hope for Winter
Chill hours being sought, but the possibility of a La Niña climate pattern could mean a drier and warmer winter. Read More
Biocontrols Conference
November 13, 2017
Biostimulants Making Big Strides as It Seeks Organization
The inaugural BiocontrolsSM USA East Conference & Expo in Orlando, FL, featured two days of educational sessions focused on how Read More
Biocontrols Conference
November 13, 2017
So What Exactly Are Biostimulants, Anyway?
Biostimulants are one of the hottest new topics in specialty crops, but most growers could use a little clarity on where they fit. Here are the basics you need to know. Read More
FAE 17 outdoor equipment display
Florida Ag Expo
November 13, 2017
Florida Growers Explore New Solutions to Age-Old Problems
Farm innovation and alternative approaches to production front and center at 2017 Florida Ag Expo. Read More
Biocontrols Conference
November 13, 2017
Microbial-based Biostimulants: Big Potential in Small Packages
There is no shortage of interest in or questions and opinions about biostimulants. Many are working to develop them as Read More
Berries
November 11, 2017
2018 North American Raspberry and Blackberry Conference to be held in California
Featured speakers at the annual conference, slated for February in Ventura, CA, include Miles Reiter of Driscoll’s. Read More
Fruits
November 9, 2017
Organic Fresh Produce Sales Top $1 Billion in Third Quarter
Sales of organic fruit were up 8.3% year on year, while sales of organic vegetables rose 6.2%. Read More
Grapes
November 8, 2017
California Winegrowers Report Excellent Harvest
Wine Institute: Strong quality across the state as ample rain ended drought. Read More
Crop Protection
November 8, 2017
California Limits Pesticide Use Near Schools
State prohibits many pesticide applications within a quarter-mile of public K-12 schools and licensed child daycare facilities during school hours. Read More
Citrus
November 7, 2017
New Tool Helps Growers Improve Phosphorus Efficiency
Technology newly available to specialty crop growers provides economic and environmental benefits. Read More
The Latest
Fruits
November 20, 2017
New Fungicide Registered for Botrytis, P…
Intuity fungicide from Valent U.S.A. is labeled for grapes, strawberries.   Read More
Fruits
November 19, 2017
More Tools Available for Organic Growers
Pest management, fertility, and certification information all available in one place. Read More
Equipment
November 18, 2017
Tips to Winterize Your Sprayers
Taking the steps to properly prepare your sprayer for the offseason will help to reduce costly problems in the spring, says engineer and spray technology expert. Read More
Citrus
November 17, 2017
Sustainable Farming Projects in Florida …
St. Johns River Water Management District grants backing to 12 on-farm plans aimed at resource conservation and nutrient reduction. Read More
Farm Management
November 17, 2017
Consumers Forking out Less This Year for…
Annual American Farm Bureau average price report reveals you can host a fine Turkey Day feast for less than $50. Read More
Citrus
November 14, 2017
USDA Announces Grants to Promote IPM Pra…
Methyl bromide transition, crop protection management among programs funded. Read More
Biocontrols Conference
November 13, 2017
Biostimulants Making Big Strides as It S…
The inaugural BiocontrolsSM USA East Conference & Expo in Orlando, FL, featured two days of educational sessions focused on how Read More
Biocontrols Conference
November 13, 2017
So What Exactly Are Biostimulants, Anywa…
Biostimulants are one of the hottest new topics in specialty crops, but most growers could use a little clarity on where they fit. Here are the basics you need to know. Read More
Florida Ag Expo
November 13, 2017
Florida Growers Explore New Solutions to…
Farm innovation and alternative approaches to production front and center at 2017 Florida Ag Expo. Read More
Biocontrols Conference
November 13, 2017
Microbial-based Biostimulants: Big Poten…
There is no shortage of interest in or questions and opinions about biostimulants. Many are working to develop them as Read More
Fruits
November 9, 2017
Organic Fresh Produce Sales Top $1 Billi…
Sales of organic fruit were up 8.3% year on year, while sales of organic vegetables rose 6.2%. Read More
Crop Protection
November 8, 2017
California Limits Pesticide Use Near Sch…
State prohibits many pesticide applications within a quarter-mile of public K-12 schools and licensed child daycare facilities during school hours. Read More
Citrus
November 7, 2017
New Tool Helps Growers Improve Phosphoru…
Technology newly available to specialty crop growers provides economic and environmental benefits. Read More
Citrus
November 7, 2017
Comments Sought in Ag Water Component of…
Growers and other interested parties are encouraged by United Fresh to weigh in on agricultural water requirements in the Food Safety Modernization Act. Read More
Citrus
November 7, 2017
Study: Circadian Clock in Plants May Boo…
The Texas A&M team that won a 2017 Nobel Prize for Physiology or Medicine on circadian rhythm at a molecular level turn their attention to plants. Read More
Citrus
November 6, 2017
South Florida Wringing out From Record-S…
Tropical torrents, along with a persistent precipitation pattern, helps break 70-year high-water mark. Read More
Farm Management
November 3, 2017
7 Food Trends on the Front Burner for 20…
From bug buffets to backyard chickens, UF/IFAS experts cook up predictions for the coming year. Read More
Farm Management
November 2, 2017
Sustainable Practices Make Perfect for F…
Industry leadership award honorees stand out in setting new standards through innovative technology and BMPs. Read More