Red Deer edible forest to grow plums, apricots and cherries

The central Alberta city has an ambitious expansion planned for its community garden that includes a plum, apricot and cherry orchard.

City expanding community garden with cold hardy fruit trees

Weed control is underway at the future site of Red Deer's edible forest. (Piper Creek Restoration Agricultural Project/Facebook)

If all goes well, in a few years there will be a prairie cherry, apricot and plum orchard growing in Red Deer.

"Things that you never knew could grow are able to grow where you live if you just give it a little bit of attention," said Rene Michalak with ReThink Red Deer.

The not-for-profit is heading up the expansion of the city's community garden, establishing an edible food forest with about 150 cold hardy trees, shrubs and plants that all have "edible, medicinal or pollinator-value."

The City of Red Deer will be planting cold hardy cherry, apricot and plum trees in its new edible food forest. (Danielle Nerman/CBC)

The perennial food forest is being developed on former farmland situated between the Red Deer landfill and industrial park that was annexed several years ago by the city.

"There are many of these projects springing up around the entire planet, I think it's really catching on like wildfire," said Michalak.

"People are seeing the great opportunity in building relationships with the natural world, with each other — really sitting down around meals that were produced locally."

The project recently received a $23,000 grant from the federal Canada 150 Fund to commemorate the 150th anniversary of Confederation in 2017.

With files from the Calgary Eyeopener