Approximately 100 fruit trees (apple, apricot, prune and cherry) are scheduled to have a place in one of the City of Durango parks planned for our Three Springs neighborhood.
Fort Lewis College students will be planting the trees in contribution to the development of a sustainable local economy, in which emphasis will be on production. A strong local economy helps meet a future influenced by the decline of fossil fuels and climate change.
There are no plans just yet on how to use fruit the community orchards eventually produce. Potentially, the fruit could end up being donated to the needy, sold to niche markets, placed in FLC Student Union menus or used for educational purposes such as the Homegrown Weekend – a celebration of the area’s fall fruit harvest held in Buckley Park in historic downtown Durango.
“Trees are an easy place to start because people can envision taking care of some fruit trees,” said Fort Lewis College Professor Tina Evans. “
Direct benefits from fruit trees, Evans said, include carbon sequestration, storm-water control and a reduction in the use of fossil fuels because food doesn’t have to be trucked far.
Evans estimates that more than 250 trees – 70 percent of them apple varieties – have been planted by students majoring in environmental studies, sociology and more, including art and business. The program was an offshoot of a class Evans has taught since 2005 called “The End of Oil,” a look at what dwindling fossil production means. Three Springs is pleased to be part of this effort.