Wolverine Human Services could venture into apple orchards in Detroit


Core Orchards will include a parcel of land with a house and a vacant brick building on Charlevoix. Wollack said he plans to buy these structures and convert them into a cider house and cider house. Plots of community gardens would be behind the structures. The orchard will cover the rest of the block up to Vernor Road.

Two blocks further between Coplin and Drexel is the old Carstens Primary School, now stripped and dilapidated. Wallack said Wolverine is hoping to eventually buy him at the Detroit Land Bank Authority.

The trees will be 3-4 years old when planted – to speed up the growing period. An irrigation system will be installed, and in the future Wolverine hopes to offer a pick-your-own apple option.

“We hope to bring people from everywhere but also give access to the orchard to our current neighbors. Fruit and fresh produce will be offered at free and reduced prices,” he said. “We are planning to hire a manager and a farmer for the orchard.” In addition, the orchard will include a farmers market and raised beds.

So far Wolverine has at least $ 370,000 in Orchard and Market funding. The fundraiser raised $ 165,000, the Michigan Department of Agriculture provided a grant of $ 155,000, and $ 50,000 is from the Michigan Economic Development Corporation and the crowdfunding of Patronicity. “We keep looking for other grants because we need a million dollars for the whole project,” he said.

Wolverine has already purchased nine plots on Lenox for $ 100 per plot from the Detroit Land Bank Authority. She would like to buy nine more plots on Drexel from the land bank. “We have been mowing these plots for 20 years,” he said.

Because Wolverine Personal Services is not in the apple orchard business, Wollack hired an advisor. Isaiah Wunsch, a sixth-generation cherry and apple grower with 600 acres of cherries and 100 acres of apples on the Old Mission Peninsula in northern Michigan, gives advice on how to prepare the site for planting , deadlines, materials and equipment. “I will make myself available after planting the orchard to provide technical assistance on the long-term management of the project,” he said in an email.

His link with the orchard was made during the three years he worked for the MEDC and his participation in the Great Lakes Leadership AcademyLast year’s leadership development program.

“I think this project will be a great asset to Detroit and create a stronger awareness of modern agriculture within our state’s largest urban center – which I think are very positive results.”

Wunsch predicted the success of Core Orchards, with concern. “Production can exceed demand in the first year or two before residents realize they have a pick-your-own apple orchard within cycling distance of their homes,” he said. E-mail. “It’s a manageable challenge, but the orchard is expected to produce between 100,000 and 250,000 pounds of apples per year once online, so this will be a relatively large scale for an urban agriculture project.”

Wolverine Human Services is a social service agency that provides safety, food, education, and therapeutic intervention to children statewide. Its programs focus on adolescents suffering from the social injustices of abuse and neglect and those involved in delinquent activities. It operates an addiction treatment center and residential treatment services.

Wolverine was founded by Wollack’s father, Robert. The eldest Wollack, 71, had a troubled past before forming the association which now serves 550 children in 83 counties across the state and has an annual budget of $ 30 million. A book, They will be victorious, tells the story of Robert Wollack.


Rebecca W. King

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