Dakota College at Bottineau Orchard and Garden Grant Project
Dakota College at Bottineau was awarded $19,495 from the ND Agriculture Commissioner Doug Goehring in order to establish a community orchard on the Dakota College campus.
In order to get this community orchard up and running properly, Dakota College has been working with Cody Clemenson, ND Forest Service’s Forest Stewardship Specialist, and Farm Manager Apryl Mawby. This orchard will provide the campus, community members and Dakota College students fruit, peace and tranquility while also providing education on the tree and shrub species. On July 2nd, twenty four species of trees and shrubs were planted including:
- Apple Trees
- Pear Trees
- Apricot Trees
- Mulberry Trees
- Plum Trees
- Golden Chokecherry
The orchard will provide many benefits to the community of Bottineau and the students of DCB. The students will have hands on learning opportunities regarding the care and management of specialty fruits as well as taste them. Surplus will also be donated to the local food pantry to benefit community members in need. Apryl Mawby, Farm Manager states that “students and any community volunteers will be taught to prune, irrigate, properly care for and harvest. Even seasoned gardeners will likely get to see and try varities they haven’t before”.
“Community Orchard Project provides educational opportunities and fosters community spirit by bringing people together to plant and tent these orchards and gardens” said Goehring. “The art of canning and preserving the excess was something lots of our older generation used to always do and it is slowly being lost but there are people who want to learn this craft and with the excess fruit, we can teach that to those who are willing to learn” said Clemenson.
While this orchard is an exciting project for many, there are some concerns and challenges that will be faced in having a healthy and successful orchard. “Severe storm damaging events cannot be prevented and when they do occur the orchard could suffer from that. Also, accidental vandalism will potentially occur in the form of someone trying to harvest some fruit and accidentally damaging a branch that can potentially infect the tree and its overall health” said Clemenson. Deer, winter weather and birds are also a cause for concern.