Wednesday, 3 October 2012

Vancouver to plant more food-bearing trees on streets and in parks

Vancouver is planning a substantial expansion of the city’s inventory of edible-fruit and nut trees.

The city has committed to planting 150,000 more trees on boulevards and in parks and city-owned lands by 2020.

Vancouver city council and the park board will consider motions next week that would incorporate planting food-bearing trees into the Urban Forest Management Plan, due to be completed next year.

“We will have a plan to plant the trees, care for the trees and harvest the fruit,” said Vision Vancouver park commissioner Niki Sharma, who introduced the notice of motion at park board Monday. Mayor Gregor Robertson introduced the notice to council Tuesday.

“Street trees play an important role in helping Vancouver adapt to climate change, manage stormwater run-off, support biodiversity and even provide food,” said Robertson in a statement.

The urban forest plan won’t set specific targets for the number of food-bearing trees that will be planted. City staff will be instructed to plant where they deem a tree can thrive, said Sharma.

“We will direct staff to look for those opportunities and plant wherever possible,” Sharma told The Vancouver Sun.

Sharma hopes to enlist schools to steward the growing urban orchard.

The city’s street tree inventory lists about 600 fruit and nut trees. Another 425 food-bearing trees are scattered throughout the city’s parks and in community gardens and pocket orchards, mainly cared for by community and environmental groups.