Establishing an Uncommon Orchard with Native Plant Understory

Project Overview

YENC20-153
Project Type: Youth Educator
Funds awarded in 2020: $4,000.00
Projected End Date: 01/31/2022
Grant Recipient: Scattergood Friends School
Region: North Central
State: Iowa
Project Manager:
Mark Quee
Scattergood Friends School

Commodities

  • Fruits: berries (other), paw-paws, peaches, pears, persimmon, plums, quinces
  • Nuts: hazelnuts
  • Additional Plants: native plants

Practices

  • Crop Production: agroforestry, pollinator habitat
  • Education and Training: youth education
  • Natural Resources/Environment: biodiversity, carbon sequestration

    Proposal abstract:

    In a Fall 2019 Agriculture and Climate Change class, students studied ways to make Scattergood's certified organic school farm more resilient to the effects of climate change as well as incorporating ways to combat it. They recognized that native plants and food-producing perennials are an effective combination. This project will allow several different classes to be involved in converting approximately one acre of underutilized certified organic pasture into organic orchards with a native grass understory. Students will study, experience and report on eradicating introduced species, selecting and seeding native species, and selecting, planting and caring for appropriate food-bearing perennials.

    Project objectives from proposal:

    This project will provide students with hands-on experience in native plant restoration and agroforestry, including:

         Organically removing established introduced plants through tillage and cover cropping,

         Working with experts from the Xerces Society in selecting and seeding geographically and functionally appropriate native species,

         Working with experienced farmers in selecting and transplanting food-bearing perennials,

         Presenting information effectively through signage at the orchard site,

         Educating our immediate and extended community through tours, presentations, social media, and a field day.

    Any opinions, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this publication are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the view of the U.S. Department of Agriculture or SARE.