Upcoming Orchard?

Bella Andersen, Reporter

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As many of you know, Garden Club and Eco Club do a lot for Ames High. Working in the greenhouse, building several gardens, and working in the prairie these two eco-friendly clubs are plenty busy. To top it all off, they have recently started making plans for a new outdoor addition to Ames High. This new and exciting potential addition will be the Ames High Orchard.cherries-839864_960_720

Right now both clubs are planning to start growing this spring and summer. Now they are just finalizing ideas, and talking to administration. They are considering to growing Pawpaws, Persimmons, Chestnuts, and heart nuts. Senior Max Eness and freshman Lucas Bleyle along with the rest of the Garden Club agreed that the point of the orchard was to leave a legacy for generations to come. Garden Club wants to make sure that their legacy will go on. Food education is essential because, as people who are hoping to live another 60 years, we are going to need skills that haven’t been important for the past century.  They all personally think that this orchard will impact the environment in the next 10-15 years. Garden Clubs will be donating everything they grow to the needy, and use the food to educate anyone who is willing. This orchard has the potential to be a great source of profit and funding for Garden Club. Paw Paws, Persimmons, and Chestnuts all have growing demands, but little to no supply making them highly profitable trees if they can get a head start and meet that demand first. Additionally, the heart nuts they plan to grow can be sold as nuts and the shells can also go for $6 a pound. This orchard provides invaluable insight into how ecosystems work. Garden Club is  working on a four tiered design where they have trees such as Chestnuts, Paw Paws, Currants, and Ginseng all stacked in the same area increasing biodiversity and productivity. This will be able to show us imgreshow organisms work together.

“Nobody has done this before. It’s an idea that will thrive, and make a difference,” Sophomore Riley Taylor said. “The orchard is new and unique and will set Ames High apart from other high schools and prove that we value innovative, new methods of learning.” Eness says, “Food education is important, and I think an orchard will be a big democratizer in terms of that. Animal agriculture is responsible for 51 percent of our carbon equivalent emissions in the U.S. Food is going to become much more scarce in the coming years due to climate change. Our land is degrading at an unprecedented rate. Life is going to be hard by the time students today are 40. Food education is a way to learn to cope with these coming struggles and as a way to actively attempt to mitigate the effects of the environmental crisis that we have impending.”

Currently, administration is deciding whether or not to continue the plan of the orchard, due to the importance of the track and football field. Apparently the people on the track prefer the windbreak that the trees provide. Some may say it’s another example of when sports are more important than other educational extracurriculars…

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