CHOW wins a fruit orchard in contest
By Jennifer Micale •firstname.lastname@example.org • May 5, 2010, 7:35 pm
CONKLIN -- Where flood waters once raged, an orchard of fruit trees and berry bushes will grow, providing food for the needy.
After a six-week Internet voting contest, the Community Hunger Outreach Warehouse won a free fruit orchard from the Communities Take Root program, supported by Edy's Fruit Bars and the Fruit Tree Planting Foundation. With more than 95,400 votes, CHOW bested its closest competitor -- Bloomington, Indiana's Parks and Recreation Department.
That's OK, though; Bloomington also will receive a free orchard, although CHOW gets the bragging rights.
The orchard will be planted on about a half-acre of flood plain land in Conklin as part of the new CHOW farm. Conklin donated use of the land -- 7 acres in all -- that was flooded in 2006. The houses were leveled. Under the terms of federal buyouts; the land cannot be redeveloped with other buildings.
CHOW will receive 34 to 40 trees and maybe some berry bushes, said Deacon Edward Blaine, CHOW program director. It's too early to determine what kind of fruit trees will be planted or when it will be done. A foundation representative will visit the plot and make recommendations.
An orchard was in the plans anyway for the farm; winning the contest will allow CHOW to save on the cost of buying trees, he said. It will also provide an opportunity for people who need food aid to receive fresh produce, rather than the non-perishable items common to food pantries.
"We're going to get fresh food into the hands of people who come to our pantries," he said. "Part of our goal is to help them eat better."
CHOW provides food to 30 pantries in churches throughout Broome County, as well as supplying various ingredients for 35 soup kitchens and community dinners.
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