Real Life Center Launches Orchard Project
The Real Life Center in Tyrone has started an orchard to grow fruit for those in need. Jeff Meyers of Dogwood Church, a longtime supporter of the center, developed the plan for the project, which eventually will furnish 20,000 pounds of fresh, healthy food annually — enough for 100 or more families. The project makes the most of Georgia’s long growing season and will provide apples, peaches, plums, blueberries, blackberries, figs, pomegranates, and grapes.
In early November, Myers led a group of 45 volunteers in beginning the plantings. “It was amazing to see so many people willing to jump in and make an effort to help others,” Myers says. “It has been incredible to see how generous people in our community can be.”
Key supporters of the project’s first phases include Dogwood Church, which donated the land and use of a well and tractor; landscape architect Mike Lorber of Lorber and Associates, who laid out the orchard to maximize its efficiency; Jason Warren of Rhino Services, who helped remove three trees; David Warda of Ronnie D. Jones Construction, who furnished a backhoe, bulldozer, and dump truck for grading and tree removal; Cornelius Blueberry Farm, which donated all the blueberry bushes; and Coweta/Fayette EMC for its Roundup Grant for the plants. The first financial donation came from a radio-controlled airshow fundraiser, and “countless area businesses and individuals” have followed suit, reports Cathy Berggren, Director of The Real Life Center.
Volunteers Needed; No Experience Required
More orchard volunteers are needed. “You don’t have to be an experienced gardener to help,” says Berggren. “You simply need to be willing to lend a hand for just 10-20 hours per year. You can participate on your own or as part of a group. One of our team leaders will work with you, and you’ll get the opportunity to focus on one fruit variety and gradually become an expert on its care.” To join the orchard team, email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 770-631-9334.
The Real Life Center has assisted over 12,000 individuals in the area and given away over 230,000 pounds of food.