The lot on Spruce Ave was purchased during the December 2018 CBRM tax sale for less than $900. We currently pay about $130 in property taxes on the lot each year. The 5300 square foot lot had been neglected for some time and had no buildings on it.
What the lot did come with was a giant apple tree and a few apple tree volunteers. The intention of the lot, before we even discovered the apple trees, was to develop a small urban orchard/food forest.
In the summer of 2019, with the help of our Clean Foundation youth intern, we planted almost 50 trees, bushes, and perennials. The majority of the trees we have planted are apple trees; we are also growing pear trees, grapes, and several berry and nut bushes. At the north end of the lot will be an Acadian forest zone that includes native species such as oaks, chestnuts, and hawthorn. Spruce Ave also features two raised garden beds; more will be added in future years.
While the orchard is being developed as a means of revenue for Wild Town, it is also our intention to create an example of a sustainable, regenerative food forest in the middle of an urban setting. Once the trees and bushes grow and establish, we plan to construct self-sufficient, ecologically-friendly, off-grid dwellings and outbuildings on the property. The lot is proof that a small monetary investment in seemingly neglected and useless land can result in both monetary and health benefits for developers and community members.