Lawrence Community Orchard

Lawrence Community Orchard overview

Lawrence Community Orchard is a “Free Food Park”, where anyone can pick ripe fruit. Lawrence Community Orchard(LCO) was established in the winter of 2011/2012. The land was made accessible by the City of Lawrence urban agriculture land leasing program, Common Ground. Implementation and maintenance has been possible only through the hard work of many dedicated volunteers.

The purpose of LCO is to;

  • Demonstrate the efficacy of food production in public spaces utilizing perennial plants.
  • Showcase less-maintenance tree crops suitable for northeast Kansas.
  • Be a hands-on learning environment for organic orcharding.
  • Produce free, healthful food for the community.
  • Provide meaningful opportunities for neighborhood involvement.
  • Act as a replicable model for future community orchards in Lawrence.

LCO occupies 1/3 acre in the Burroughs Creek corridor of East Lawrence. It is currently planted with 77 individual productive woody plants composed of  23 species. It also includes a fruit tree nursery, a timber frame kiosk, a rustic supply shed and botanical identification signs. It features many aspects of a food forest design with nitrogen fixing species and a layered productive canopy.

View LCO on Google Maps,-95.226263,17z/data=!3m1!4b1!4m2!3m1!1s0x87bf65ff5395ae5b:0x10dbf97269876d7c






 previous posts

As Lawrence urban farming and gardening become ever more popular, so too are home orchards.  Trees, berries, and herbs require watering, weeding, and pruning; but they are less resource and labor intensive than most annual crops.  That, coupled with their perennial nature, makes them ideal for providing the multiple functions of producing food and as plants for landscaping, wind breaks, shade, and living fences.    You can now help Lawrence Fruit Tree Project (LFTP) take steps to create a beautiful park setting featuring productive and useful perennial plants.

Lawrence Community Orchard (LCO) is a project of LFTP, made possible by the City of Lawrence Common Ground Program.   The Common Ground Program was launched in 2012 with the intent of leasing city land to individuals or groups for the creation of community gardens and market farms.  After the application process, the Lawrence Fruit Tree Project was chosen to lease the site at the eastern end of Garfield St. bordering the Burroughs Creek Rail Trail in the East Lawrence Neighborhood.  The site will evolve over the next several years into an ecological orchard with a park-like atmosphere.  The site will produce nutritious foods and serve as a perennial food gardening demonstration and educational space for the greater community.

You Can Help

Volunteers are needed both for the creation process and to help us accomplish the ongoing maintenance tasks of this public orchard.     The project started in March 2012 with the preparation of planting holes.     Ongoing tasks will include some tree planting, mulch delivering, mulch spreading, and help with making signs.    Summer care includes mowing and watering.  If you are interested in having an important role in Lawrence Community Orchard send us an email telling us how you would like to help. If you are interested in coming to our work days, they will be announced through email.

Below is a map showing the various fruit trees that were planted in 2012.  Click on it for full size.

Community Orchard plan – 2012

2012, April – An article by Skyler about our Community Orchard appears in Cultivate Kansas City in their Urban Grown publication titled Lawrence Community Orchard Opens New Territory for Public Foodscapes.   The article can be downloaded from or by clicking here for the pdf file Urban Grown -Apr 2012

We are accepting monetary and material donations to help make public fruit a perpetual reality.  If you are interested in donating please contact us at the following address:

 Here are some materials that we are currently looking for:

– millable-sized (10-20” diameter, 6’+ long) osage orange logs for construction of park benches and a kiosk

– t-posts (sturdy metal stakes)

– large quantities of wood mulch

– push lawn mower or a volunteer to mow throughout the season

– hoses

– garden shovels, hard rakes, bypass pruners

– a donation of $25 would buy a fruit or nut tree that will, throughout it’s lifetime, give back many times over

The groundbreaking ceremony for the Common Ground Program 03-16-2012

Photos from our first workday on March 17, 2012

March 2012 – Bringing new trees for the orchard
March 2012 – Digging Bermuda grass from the planting hole
March 2012 – Weed pulling challenges…
March 2012 – Bermuda grass removal
March 2012 – Volunteers working on orchard preparation
March 2012 – Separating Bermuda grass from the soil
March 2012 – Volunteers preparing the ground for tree planting
March 2012 – The dog also helped
March 2012 – A pickup load of pulled out Bermuda grass!