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Core Orchards to start planting hundreds of apple trees on the east side

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Last fall, we told you that Wolverine Human Services was raising money to create a U-Pick Apple Orchard at Lenox and Charlevoix. Spring is here and later this week, they’ll start planting 350 Honeycrisp apple trees to create a demonstration orchard on the city’s east side.

The trees will grow in a high-tech, high-density growing system ideal for an urban orchard. Once the trees yield fruit, Core Orchards will become a U-Pick orchard for the community.

“We have been working closing with the residents of the Riverbend neighborhood and the City of Detroit, to create space that will benefit everyone,” said Greg Hoffman, WHS director of community relations. “After hearing concerns from our neighbors about the size and scope of WHS’ original 11-acre orchard proposal, we have decided to reduce the footprint of the urban orchard to less than a half-acre of land that WHS acquired through the Land Bank Authority Community Partners program. Our hope is this demonstration orchard will help alleviate any concerns and highlight the benefits of transforming this blighted, unused space into a community gathering destination.”

Wolverine Human Services also will construct a 2,100-square-foot hoop house on the same block. This enclosed gardening structure will allow for nearly year-round gardening, with community gardening memberships available to area residents.

“According to a University of Illinois study, crime decreases in neighborhoods when the amount green space increases, and vegetation helps alleviate mental fatigue, one of the precursors to violent behavior,” said Matt Wollack, WHS vice president of strategic development. “This demonstration orchard is the first step in what we hope will become something much larger.”

Interested in helping plant apple trees on April 28? A survey is available on Core Orchards’ Facebook page or you can email them at

For a $150 donation, those interested can sponsor a tree at Core Orchards Detroit and take one home. Detailed instructions on how to plant and care for a Honeycrisp apple tree will be provided. Trees can be reserved here.