Located on a vacant lot at 334 Forest Avenue is the future site of, what will certainly be known as a “Jewel in the Crown of Des Moines”, The Forest Ave Community Orchard in Riverbend. This site will serve as a model for future sites. The orchard will serve as a park and gathering point for the neighborhood and community, as well as an educational classroom serving both the community and the local school system. It will host a natural playscape area for kids that will include a variety of edible landscape plants.
The orchard site will host a multitude of activities and events including the Sustainable Summer Series, outdoor cooking, nutrition, and preservation classes.
The orchard is in the development phase. We have developed a team of volunteers who are dedicated to bringing this vision to reality. We meet one a month (third Monday of each month) for our “Whole Team” meeting. (link to events calendar). These meetings are open to everyone to attend. It is never too late to get involved!
We have established mission specific teams or subcommittees to help develop different areas of the orchard project. These teams include:
This team consist of the visionary, project manager, and the leader/representative from each of the subcommittee teams.
Planning & Design Team
This team is working on developing a design layout for the project.
This team works on finding grants and writing proposals for acquire funding for the project.
Training & Education
This team is working to create an educational element to the project on two levels. First, they are working with Des Moines Public Schools to integrate the Orchard as a hands-on, interactive learning module into the high school curriculum. They are also working to develop a community education and training component. The Summer Sustainable Series will be the feature event for the community component.
Communications & Community Engagement
This team is working on ways to get the community involved and participating in the orchard project. This plan may include door knocking, public speaking, surveys, etc. The Riverbend Neighborhood is a very ethnically diverse community which presents incredible opportunities for this project!
The food security team is still developing and will focus on creating programs and availability of food access to the community. Food access is a pivotal piece of the vision of the community orchard, and the food security team will help address creative ways to incorporate this vision.
This team is developing plans to get local youth involved and participating with the orchard project.
If you are interested in joining any of these teams, please click here.