Urban Orchard Stewards

Fruit Trees in Seattle Parks

More than 30 Seattle parks have fruit trees — many of them the remnants of heritage orchards. Parks like Carkeek, Othello, and Martha Washington have extensive orchards with good specimens. Many other parks, such as the Linden Orchard P-Patch and Bradner Gardens, have planted mini-orchards as part of a community garden.


While these trees are of value to the community as a source of food and canopy cover and as a link to Seattle’s past, Seattle Park’s landscaping budgets cannot cover the costs of the pruning, pest management and harvest of fruit trees.  City Fruit was awarded a grant from the Washington State Department of Natural Resources in cooperation with the US Forest Service to develop a community stewardship program to care for fruit trees in Seattle parks.  We now have teams of orchard stewards working in five parks:  Bradner Gardens; Burke-Gilman Trail; Jose Rizal; Martha Washington; and Meadowbrook.   We are training new steward teams for four additional parks:  Kirke, Meridian, Picardo P-Patch; and Queen Pea P-Patch.


Fruit Tree Care Curriculum

We have developed a three-part curriculum on fruit tree care to train the orchard stewards.  Each workshop lasts two hours and consists of lecture and hands-on practice and observation.  Part One is a slide show and lecture on basic Fruit Tree Biology and fruit production. Part Two is Fruit Tree Pruning.  Part Three address Pest Management in fruit trees, including a permaculture component. These workshops are held in two-hour modules on separate dates, typically when seasonally appropriate.


Public-Private Collaboration

This project represents a significant public-private collaboration. Its success depends on the efforts of the more than 30 stewards currently working in five Seattle parks.  These volunteers hold cider parties, pull blackberries and ivy, spread “Zoo-Doo,” mulch, harvest, and create policy around their orchards.  Seattle Department of Parks & Recreation provides staff and equipment for large renovation pruning, hauls brush and supplies mulch.  City Fruit facilitates workshops and coordinates the steward groups with support from the State Department of Natural Resources, in collaboration with the US Forest Service.  Such a model could ideally be adapted by other communities interested in preserving an important community resource.


Learn More

To learn more or ask questions about the Seattle Orchard Stewards program, contact info@cityfruit.org

For more photos of stewards in action, check out the Seattle Orchard Stewards Tumblr photo blog site