The purpose of the volunteer program at Welland is to both increase food access by maintaining a productive Orchard using organic, holistic orcharding practices, and increase food literacy by educating volunteers on fruit tree care, harvest and use. We hope to make this process fun and engaging, and to this end have a few ways that volunteers can get involved in depending on what they’re looking for and what their time commitment is.

Ways to get involved:

Tree Care Apprentices!

This program is for folks who really want to zero in on learning about specific aspects of fruit tree care, such as nutrition, pest & disease management and pruning. These volunteers will be mixing and applying holistic sprays, pruning trees and monitoring diseases & pests according to the season. They will be working closely with the Coordinator to implement the holistic tree care plan for the Orchard, which is based on the book The Holistic Orchard: Tree Fruits & Berries the Biological Way by Michael Phillips (book not provided).

Volunteers meet once monthly for a full day of orchard care where we will focus on tasks that are particular to each time of the year. Some of the topics we will cover include: pruning, grafting, nursery management, integrated pest management, fruit quality, and harvest.

In 2019 we’ll be running 2 separate semesters, with participants applying for one or both of the semesters

First semester: Feb (2 visits), Mar, Apr, May,

Second semester: Jun, July, Aug, Sept, Oct

Each session will run from 10 am to 4 pm on either Mondays or Tuesdays (to be determined) and will typically include one hour of teaching & observation at the orchard, followed by 4 hours of hands-on practice in managing a community orchard. At lunch break, which can be had picnic style in the park, participants will have the opportunity get to know each other and share their interest and expertise.

Participants will:

  • adopt a section of the orchard, be responsible for monitoring and pruning that section first
  • learn holistic spray routines
  • learn integrated pest management approaches suitable for backyard cultivation
  • learn winter and summer pruning for a variety of tree types and sizes, as well as vines
  • learn about irrigation & soil health
  • assemble a resource package summarizing topics and where to go to learn more
  • walk away with a certificate if attendance is above 75% for both semesters
  • receive discounts or free admission to Welland workshop series during the semester

Cost: $50 each semester, $75 for two

To apply, download and fill out the application form here and send it to Julia at welland@lifecyclesproject.ca by Monday January 28th at noon. Please feel free to get in touch with any questions!

Work Bees!

Work Bees are regular volunteer days when anyone who is wiling is welcome to come by and lend a hand with maintaining the orchard. These days are a great opportunity to familiarize yourself with the Orchard, meet new people, and learn a bit about fruit trees, pollinators or soil building. There’s a low commitment level, you can just come when you have a free Sunday. Tasks vary with the season, but generally work bees are family friendly times to come and pitch in on things like mulching, weeding, fruit thinning, or harvest; each time is a little bit different.

Work Bees are every 1st and 3rd Sunday of the month from March to October (except holiday weekends). In the spring & fall we meet in the afternoon to take advantage of warmer afternoons, and in the summer we meet in the morning before it gets too hot to work!

Dates for 2019 will be announced soon!

If you are interested in helping with pruning in February, please email the Coordinator at welland@lifecyclesproject.ca with your availability (weekdays or weekends) and level of pruning experience (beginners welcome! We just also need enough experienced folks to help out too). Pruning dates will be scheduled based on volunteer availability. 

To stay up-to-date with times & activities for the drop-in work parties, sign up for our email list by sending a message to our Coordinator (see above email) and/or ‘like’ our Facebook page and keep an eye out for upcoming events.

Group Visits!

Is your school or workplace looking for an opportunity to get their hands dirty, spend the day outside working together & contribute to an amazing community project? If yes, get in touch! Email welland@lifecyclesproject.ca for more information.