By James K. Frazier
Lakeview Village president and CEO
One of the special activities provided to the youngsters in Lakeview Village’s Child Development Center is learning where food comes from and how things grow. In recent years we have added raised gardens outside the center behind Eastside Terrace where the children raise vegetables. On May 6 at 9:30 a.m., we are adding a small grove of fruit trees to enhance their learning, provide fruit to them, Lakeview’s dining services, Ridgeview Village and the Johnson County Service Center food pantry. We had originally planned to plant the trees on Thursday, but a torrential downpour forced us to reschedule. Instead, a representative from The Giving Grove read to the children, and showed them examples of the types of fruits the trees they will help plant will soon bear.
How did this come about? Ray Makalous, a board member, introduced the concept to me. Ray is the director of outreach for The Giving Grove, a non-profit whose mission is “to develop replicable models for edible tree gardens, facilitate the implementation of those models by bringing together the needed resources, and provide a portion of the produce from each tree garden to feed those in need.”
As a result of our collaboration, on May 6 we will be planting a grove behind Eastside Terrace including three Asian pear trees, three Euro pear trees, three apple trees and four cherry bushes. (You can watch the planting from Eastside Terrace or Heritage Activity Center.) The plants have been selected by horticulturalists who work with The Giving Grove because they will best adapt to our local climate, and be disease and pest tolerant. We anticipate they will begin bearing fruit in about three years. The Giving Grove provides the training on pruning and maintaining the grove, too. Volunteer gleaners will annually pick the upper fruit to be used at the food pantry; Lakeview and Ridgeview may share in some of the fresh bounty; and the children will learn even more about growing nutritious food.
The Giving Grove is an offshoot of the Kansas City Community Gardens. In 2013, The Giving Grove installed 21 projects throughout the Kansas City area. They hope that their unique sustainable approach to local fresh food production will eventually be replicated nationwide.
Education for our children; fresh produce for Lakeview, Ridgeview and local needy; beautification of the campus; volunteerism and training; cutting-edge advocacy and showing other communities what can be—win, win, win, win, win—it’s the Lakeview way!