As we begin the process of introducing the fifth round of Project Grantees (more on that next week), we are reminded of the impact and potential for change our current fourth round of grantees have in the community. Project Grantee, Damon Lynch, almost half way through his grant cycle term and can already feel its gravity.
Damon’s project, Urban Orchards uses permaculture techniques to plant dwarf tree in Roselawn’s vacant spaces, resident’s yards and on the grounds of New Prospect Baptist Church. The focus is to provide access to fruit trees, edible shrubs, herbs and flowers to educate community about sustainable living, all while serving a need.
In an urban environment, space is usually the biggest obstacle. For Damon, space is his biggest contributor. There is a multitude of vacant, underutilized areas in a city. The availability of lots, building and alleyways provide an open platform to transform traditionally unsustainable eyesores into flourishing food spaces. Thus far, Urban Orchards has anywhere from 30–70 apple, pear, peach and avocado community lawn trees secured. Experimenting with different natural fertilizers and education techniques, Damon hopes that the community members will gain enough knowledge on food security and food production to take over the trees in a year when they start producing—much like the proverb, "give a man a fish and you feed him for a day; teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime."
Damon envisions an "Urban Eden"— a place where youth can walk down the street, pick fruit of the tree and eat it on their walk home.
Have a green thumb or still curious about Urban Orchards? You should connect with Damon. April 29th is planting day and Urban Orchards is looking for people to help sow the seeds of food and community. They will be planting apple trees, grape vines, native bushes, tomatoes, onions, potatoes and lots of greens. Sign up here. If you need more information, call Damon at 513.293.0606 or follow his Instagram account, @urbanorchardscincy.