Detroit's first U-pick apple orchard could become reality

Posted on September 26, 2016

Michigan is home to hundreds of apple orchards, filled with acres of tart and tangy, crisp and crunchy, sweet and juicy apples.

But you won’t find a single orchard in the city of Detroit.

Now, two blocks of blighted property on the city’s east side are being eyed for the possibility of a U-pick apple orchard spanning 11 acres, according to an e-mail from Greg Hoffman, Director of Community Relations at Wolverine Human Services in Detroit.

A nonprofit, Wolverine is the driving force behind the plan and is located in the same neighborhood as the development site.


(Photo: Wolverine Human Services)

The proposed boundaries for the project are Vernor and Charlevoix and Lenox and Coplin. Plans are also being made to include a community garden (open for neighborhood residents to cultivate), a garden-training classroom, and garden marketplace. The marketplace and garden could open by summer of 2017, Hoffman told the Free Press.

In addition, Wolverine Human Services is developing a plan to purchase and renovate the former Carstens Elementary School on Coplin and Charlevoix, adjacent to the proposed orchard site. Future plans include a community grocery story and public recreation facilities. The school has been vacant since 2011.

What about funding?

Core Orchards Detroit, created by nonprofit Wolverine Human Services, has raised more than $400,000 for the project. In July, the Core Orchards nabbed some much-needed help from the Michigan Department of Agriculture through a $155,000 grant. More recently, it got a major boost through the crowdfunding site Patroncity, reaching its $50,000 goal to support the project. The campaign ended Thursday night and will be matched by the MEDC and the Michigan State Housing Development Corporation. The project’s anticipated budget is expected to be $2 million.

To read the whole story visit Detroit Free Press.