Let’s revive the art and practice of small urban orchards. Enrichmond has partnered with Blue Bee Cider, a Richmond-based urban cidery, to plant a community apple orchard in Chimborazo Park, located in the historic Church Hill neighborhood. During Prohibition and throughout the Great Depression in the 1930s, urban orchards provided opportunities for communities and traditions that continue to this day. Richmond has never ceased to amaze the public with its community involvement and creativity in the public space. Together, we can provide the Church Hill neighborhood and its visitors with naturally-grown apples, education resources to the public, and restore beauty to an overgrown portion of Chimborazo Park.
An interesting aspect of this project will involve the very first steps of the orchard’s establishment. Instead of employing the heavy equipment and the application of herbicides that can linger in the ground and cause unwanted side effects, we’ll use goats to feed on the vegetation and naturally clear the area. This practice has commonly been referred to as “goatscaping.” This is a safe, green alternative to traditional vegetation removal. Goats don’t emit pollution, they don’t contain any dangerous chemicals, and they’re dang cute! They can roam freely on steep inclines, gobble down poison ivy and woody brush, and do so relatively quietly and safely. They also, in return, provide valuable nutrients to the soil by leaving behind natural fertilizer. The orchard will love the goats long after they’ve left the area.
After the grounds have been cleared, Blue Bee Cider will donate apple tree saplings for the orchard. In addition to establishing the orchard, Blue Bee Cider will partner with Virginia Cooperative Extension to secure volunteer horticulturalists to develop pruning and caring educational components to the orchard. These experts will host classes from local elementary schools and the general public to educate participants on the art of urban orchards.
Our goal is to raise $5,000 to prepare the land for the goats, setting up security and safety for the herd, finalizing the soil for planting, establishing the orchard, and setting up resources to help ensure its growth with community education and volunteer programs.
Once the goats have finished their work and the area is cleared, we’ll get to work on establishing the Chimborazo Park community apple orchard to serve the community for the foreseeable future. The goats eat the vegetation, and you’ll get to eat the apples. Food for animals and humans alike.
Donate now and help us turn this into the Chimborazo Urban Orchard:
Risks and challenges
While the City of Richmond has pledged support for the initiative, there may be delays due to permits, zoning restrictions, and environmental or exposure concerns. Delays in setting up the area, deploying the herd, and planting the orchard is also possible. We’ll do everything we can to work through these obstacles, and will transparently communicate any delays and resolutions.
What happens if more than $5,000 is raised? Should we raise more than $5,000, we plan to use the additional funds to clean up other overlooked and overgrown areas of Richmond, such as the Evergreen Cemetery and Union Hill.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
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