Toronto’s Community Orchard Project: Ben Nobleman Park

***UPDATE**** June 4, 2009
First 9 trees are in the ground at Ben Nobleman Park, site of TO’s first community orchard: pears, plums, and cherries. Hooray!
I just learned about wonderful proposal to plant a community orchard not far from the Eglinton West Subway station in Ben Nobleman park.

This initiative is spearheaded by the group Growing For Green and the group Not Far From the Tree, which collects and distributes fruit from city trees. Growing for Green is an eco-gardening group based in Toronto’s west end founded by filmmaker, journalist and gardener Susan Poizner ( together with painter and gardener Sherry Firing.

From the Growing for Green website:

Our goal is to plant 40 fruit trees including apples, pears, cherries and plums, in the underused Ben Nobleman Park across from Eglinton West subway station.

Community orchards have existed in the United Kingdom for over 20 years and in Boston and Philadephia for over a decade.

Learn more about the orchard proposal here.

Not Far From the Tree picked 3,003 pounds of residential fruit in 2008. From their website:

The core of our programming is our residential fruit-picking program, where we pick fruit from trees that would otherwise go to waste. We help fruit tree owners make use of the abundance of fruit that their trees offer by dispatching teams of volunteers to harvest it for them. One third goes to the fruit tree owners, another third goes to the volunteers for their labour, and the final third is distributed (by bicycle or cart) to community organizations in the neighbourhood who can make good use of the fresh fruit.

Visit the Not Far From the Tree website here.

I really hope this orchard plan becomes a reality. It’s looking good, as the organizers have help from Carrot Cache, Toronto Parks Forestry and Recreation, and City Councillor Joe Mihevc. The group has created a community orchard website, as well.



  1. I tried to get a community garden going at Sherwood park last year.(unsuccessfully)

    Since there is a communal fruit tree orchard near by. I think it would be cool to have a nut tree orchard. how do you go about getting funding from the city?

    Also if you get a surplus of trees for your park mayby you can suggest Sherwood park as a second location.

    You can reach me at.

  2. You should leave your contact details at the sites linked above as they are the ones trying to get the orchard through.
    There’s quite a big backlash in the community about this project apparently. The Star had an article that talked about it.

    Petition with 70 signatures. One of the complaints was “a loss of green space”, which I don’t understand. The existing green space is just going to have some trees on it, which makes it….a green space. Another complaint: “rotten fruit clogging their gutters.” Huh? I thought the whole point of an orchard is to *pick* the fruit. They’re not leaving it to rot anywhere. And “wild animals coming up from the ravines”. I think the wild animals already have plenty to attract them from garbage we put out. Can’t see raccoons climbing trees to eat fresh apples. We have an apple tree in front of a house in our neighborhood, but I don’t think the tree has anything to do with the massive raccoon population we have.

    Other people have predicted that the orchard plan will get watered down, (6 trees) and the trees will fail due to the city not coming through with proper TLC.

    Anyway, I’m interested to see what happens with this project. I think they were supposed to give it the yay or nay today.

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