Gatineau park could soon be transformed into fruit orchard

For the past three years, Jonathan Fortier and his local neighbourhood association in Pointe-Gatineau have been cultivating a community project that people can literally sink their teeth into.

Community association wants everyone to have access to fresh fruit

With a grant from the city, the local community association hopes to turn Parc Maisonneuve into an orchard where everyone can come for fresh fruit. (Radio-Canada)

For the past three years, Jonathan Fortier has been cultivating a community project that his neighbours can literally sink their teeth into.

Fortier and the Association citoyenne de Pointe-Gatineau want to transform part of parc Maisonneuve into a fruit orchard.

The idea is to have some easily accessible fruit trees and bushes growing in the park where community members can help themselves to a tasty snack, Fortier told CBC Radio's Ottawa Morning.

"The plan is to invite people to use the orchard and to come and grab the fruit."

Fortier said the community association also hopes to hold community harvests, then deliver the fresh-picked fruit to local food banks and schools.

Association member Jonathan Fortier says the park is currently underused and not very inviting. (Radio-Canada)

Parc Maisonneuve is currently underused and not very inviting, Fortier said.

"It's kind of an empty park with grass, and that's pretty much it."

Gatineau city council approved the project on Tuesday evening, and the association has managed to get some funding from the city's green grant.

That means planting can start this fall, and Fortier said the community orchard will eventually have apple and pear trees, as well as blueberry and raspberry bushes.

The community association will take responsibility for maintaining the orchard, with the help of local volunteers.

Fortier said the project makes better use of public space and promotes food security.

"I think it's going to open more doors for that type of project."

For three years, the Pointe-Gatineau Citizen’s Association has been planting the seeds at city hall for a fruit orchard in Maissonneuve Park. And it got the green thumbs up this week. We get a taste from Jonathan Fortier. 5:17