Community orchard becomes a reality in SSC, encourages healthy e - KTIV News 4 Sioux City IA: News, Weather and Sports

Community orchard becomes a reality in SSC, encourages healthy eating habits


People in South Sioux City, Nebraska spent part of their Saturday putting more than 200 trees in the ground.

"There will be a lot of different kinds of apples, there's pears, there's cherries, there's plums, there's peaches, so a good variety of different fruits," South Sioux City, Nebraska Parks Director Gene Maffit said

With the help of about two dozen community members, 204 trees were planted in just one hour, and those getting their hands dirty said it will definitely pay off for the city in the long-run.

"The fact of the matter is fruits are a healthy food, and some people don't have access to it, and we're trying to give them that access," Maffit said.

"Some of the stuff you get from the grocery store, you don't know for sure when it was picked. This stuff, you can come out here, you can pick it, and you can take it home and eat it, knowing that you participated in the harvest process," Leadership Dakota County Member Kurt Peterson said.

Maffit said he's been working on getting this community orchard up and running for years.

"I'm pretty excited about getting it planted. It's been a long time coming," Maffit said.

Maffit worked with the University of Nebraska Lincoln Extension Service to help choose which kinds of fruits would grow best. Now, it's the community's turn to step up and care for the newly planted trees.

"I'd like to see the community come together and take care of the orchard and everybody benefit from the orchard," Maffit said.

Even though, all the trees are planted, it could take up to three to five years before the community sees the fruits of their labor.

The new orchard, located just west of the intersection at East 17th Street and Riverview Drive in South Sioux City, was funded by a $20,000 federal agriculture grant, along with several other local sponsors. 

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