Aug 182011

I started this blog with the goal of raising awareness of “peak” problems that we might face as a community and a country. In the ensuing two years not much has improved. The situation actually looks much worse in every area with the additional problem of such catastrophes as Fukishima, a world-wide water crisis and the manipulations of the economic fortunes of our country.

The problems seem so vast and overwhelming it’s hard to know where to start. And, to complicate matters, the majority of citizens think everything will work out in the long term. Technology will find a way to keep the cars moving down the road, etc. There is no general impetus to do anything.

This is why the two year long “ferry crisis” has been so instructive. One can see that when the crisis becomes local, people will take an interest and get involved and make changes in how they will manage their lives, often because they are forced to.

So, what’s this have to do with an orchard? Well, it’s hard to measure the impact of a continuing discussion of Transition—that is, how will we manage our lives with less of everything? Less money, less oil, less ferry service, less parking, less food. Food security has been part of the discussion as in—how will Lummi Island feed itself if the supermarkets are no longer able to provide. Gardens have flourished as the idea of making one’s own food as a healthier way to live has seeped into the general consciousness. Another example is the community effort to create a public orchard at the Curry Preserve.

The broader goal of the group who instigated the Curry Orchard is to increase the number of fruit trees on the island which could provide significant amounts of food in years to come. A thirty tree orchard may be symbolic. But a second, third, fourth and fifth orchard plus encouragement of private land owners to add food producing trees to their property could be a start to offering food security to the island.

Now, to the point: Mike Skehan has spearheaded a plan for public orchard number two. This orchard will be located at the County Parking Lot across from the ferry landing in that infield space that was overgrown with weeds and grass. The Lummi Island Community Association (LICA) has adopted this project and has an agreement with the county who will offer some help in removing dead and diseased trees and getting the weeds under control. The area has already been mowed and will soon be tilled. A new path will meander through the area, grass will get planted and this fall approximately twenty-five fruit trees will be planted and fenced.  A cadre of volunteers will be needed to maintain the orchard. Each tree will cost about $75 (including fencing, posts, and grass seed).  Islanders need to take up the challenge and adopt a tree with a generous donation or memorial gift to the LICA – Orchard Project.   Any excess donations will be kept separately to pay for the pathway, benches, and future needs. (Note: the Curry Orchard sponsored by the Heritage Trust has received enough donations to build out the rest of the orchard which will also happen this fall).

Please send your donation to:  LICA, PO Box 163, Lummi Is 98262, (Orchard Project)

Questions should be directed to Mike Skehan, Sec. (758-7333) or David Thorn, Pres. LICA

When we are faced with gigantic problems on a macro scale it’s comforting to be able to take some positive action locally that will improve our environment and stand as evidence that we can make changes that will move us forward.


  12 Responses to “New Public Orchard”

  1. Thanks for the plug Randy, to all the volunteers who sustain the Curry Orchard, and to those who are willing to invest a little money and time in the new project.
    Maybe we could offer a prize to someone for figuring out where Orchard No. 3 would be a good investment in Lummi Island.

  2. I’m not up to sending $ at the moment, but assuming you are taking the Fruit Zoo approach, I should have a few cages to donate.

  3. Wynne,

    Any 20′ long sections of 2″ x 4″ fencing would be appreciated.

  4. Has anyone figured out how much fruit islanders need? How many orchard acres? We have limited land. Might be good to estimate the number of acres of fruit, vegetables, hay (for fiber producing animals for making clothing), grains (for protein), etc. before allocating more land (after the parking area).

    So glad to see this new project getting started! Many thanks, Mike! And thanks for getting this discussion organized, Randy!

  5. I don’t know if everything will work out in the end, but it seems to me, that Lummi Island keeps getting better and better. This blog has brought us closer together. The Ferry Forum has let us look into each others minds. We have proven we are concerned about our community, and how we are going to move forward. Whether in the end we succeed or fail, This is where I want to be. Mike can put me down as a volunteer for whatever work I may help with at orchard #2.

  6. Nancy, re: available acreage. Mike S. did some thinking about this aways back and posted a comment. I will try and dig it out.

    Re: Ed S. Always a guy one can count on.

  7. Yes, lots of strong mature trees on the island of both varieties – Female and Male
    I’m glad to be a cog on the wheel.

  8. Creating new orchards is fine, but … what about a way to keep established orchards productive? I know of at least one good-sized orchard with older owners who are at that stage where caring for it just isn’t an option right now. A combination of caretaking and harvesting (including providing property owners with all the crop they want) could be a great way to help each other out & not lose what the island already has.

  9. I think we could put together a group to take that on. But, need an invitation and some public access.

  10. Standing-by, pruning pole in hand…..

  11. I’m happy to help anyone with their private orchard but to be prudent I think we need to come up with something that would be equivalent to a conservation easement

  12. Thanks to the usual crew on Lummi for supporting Orchard No. 2 at the ferry parking lot.
    It’s changing little by little, with county crews doing some tree thinning and the Sheriff’s ‘Offender” crew starting to get a handle on the weeds, under the expert guidance of Laurel Baldwin of the Noxious Weed Control Board.
    Special thanks to Dennis and Gary go out for the heavy lifting on stumps and leveling.
    Were waiting for two things. 1. some more rain to loosen up the concrete like ground before tilling. and 2. some more donations of support. So far we’re about 1/4 the way to our goal of $1,800 for trees, grass, water system, and gravel pathway.
    If you’ve been thinking of supporting this project, get out the checkbook and send
    Paul Davis at LICA whatever you can afford. Also we’re a bit short of offers for stewards – only three of us. It’s early yet, but a show of support would be encouraging before I resort to strong arm tactics 🙂
    LICA is at PO Box 163. I can be reached at 758-7333.

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