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Funds available for planting community and school orchards

Agriculture Commissioner Doug Goehring says $20,000 is available to help North Dakota communities and schools plant an orchard in 2013.

“The Community Orchard Project provides funds to North Dakota communities and schools to raise locally grown fruit, while fostering community spirit that builds local service opportunities by bringing together people to plan, plant and tend to the orchard,” he said. “It also enhances the beauty of the local communities and schools and increases awareness of specialty crops.”

Communities and schools can apply for grants of $500 to $7,000 which are available on a competitive basis and can be used for plants, trees, equipment, planting supplies, soil amendments, irrigation and fencing supplies, but not permanent structures or purchase of land.

The North Dakota State University Extension Service has developed a beginner’s guide, Starting A Community Orchard in North Dakota, that applicants can use in preparing their grant application. It can be found on the North Dakota Department of Agriculture (NDDA) website at

Application forms for the grants are also available on the NDDA website at Grant applications must be received by March 15, 2013.

Goehring said questions about the grant program should be directed to Emily Edlund, specialty crops grants specialist at (701) 328-2191 or

The North Dakota Community Orchard Project is part of NDDA’s Local Foods Initiative, funded through the USDA Specialty Crop Block Grant Program.