Heirloom fruit orchard in urban Chicago…
Nice to see a bit of positive, uplifting news every once in a while… This sounds like a great undertaking…
(article portion from grist.org)
Fruits of old: Chicago gears up for an urban heirloom fruit orchard
By Lori Rotenberk
Chicagoans will crave the Spitzenberg apple, Dave Snyder is certain. Whether in hand or in a morning danish, the name will simply roll off their tongues.
Snyder is an urban farmer and founder of the Chicago Rarities Orchard Project, or CROP. Inspired by author Michael Pollan’s Botany of Desire and North Carolina rare-apples grower Creighton Lee Calhoun, Jr., Snyder thought his diverse and congested Logan Square neighborhood a befitting home for the city’s first orchard, where rare varieties of apples, such as the Spitzenberg, dangle from branches.
The image wouldn’t leave him alone. “I kept seeing all of these abandoned and open spaces and dreamed up this idea,” says Snyder. Determined, the former Seattle resident sporting a Rip Van Winkle-ish beard met with city officials on a quest to find some land.
And find land he did. The city offered CROP land as part of something called the Logan Square Open Space Project [PDF], which transferred the land to NeighborSpace, a nonprofit land trust. City taxes will pay for infrastructure and build-out of the orchard, says Peter Strazzabosco, spokesperson for the Department of Zoning and Land Use Planning, adding that the orchard “is the first of its type for Chicago.” All of the plantings and manpower, Snyder says, will come from CROP.