Book Review: Growing Urban Orchards

Author: Susan Poizner
Publisher: Orchard People
Book Publication: April 2014

Urban fruit trees sometimes seem like more of a liability than an asset. They can be messy. They encounter pest and disease problems. And often they produce poor tasting fruit. But an urban orchardist here in Toronto is trying to change all that with her book “Growing Urban Orchards: The Ups, Downs and How-tos of Fruit Tree Care in the City,” which encourages us to take a hands-on approach to growing organic fruit.

“People think you can plant a fruit tree and it will take care of itself. But fruit trees don’t thrive when they are neglected,” says Susan Poizner, a founder of the Ben Nobleman Park Community Orchard, Toronto’s first community orchard in a public park. After establishing the orchard in 2009, Poiz-ner invited experts from the Niagara “Fruit Belt” to teach organic fruit tree care skills in Toronto.  They covered pruning, pest and disease prevention, nutritional management, and more.

Now Poizner teaches these skills to others through in-person and online workshops. In 2013, she taught a series of cross-Canada webinars to the 20 recipient groups of Tree Canada’s popular “Edible Tree Grant”.

Through Poizner’s new company Orchard People, she has also helped homeowners and community groups plant dozens of fruit trees in urban orchards ranging from Malvern Action for Neighbourhood Change to Toronto French School.

“Growing local fruit helps us live more sustainably and I encourage people to plant fruit trees. Through my book and workshops, I’m hoping to help them avoid the mistakes so many of us have made so they can be successful, right from the start.

The first three chapters are available for download free until the end of May at: www.urbanfruittree.com

For more information email: info@orchardpeople .com, call (416) 784-2826, or visit: www.orchardpeople.com

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