Fertile fields of Milwaukee Avenue?

Should a tree an orchard grow in Brooklyn on Milwaukee Avenue?  That’s the proposal of the Chicago Rarities Orchard Project (C.R.O.P.), supported by a group called The Empirical Opera, to place a rare-fruit orchard on the portion of Milwaukee Avenue south of Logan Square proper that is currently planned for a plaza to accommodate the Logan Square Farmers Market.

I’m not in favor of it for an extension of the concern I stated about what the community and What the real estate experts may not know [Correction:  see Open space and Milwaukee Avenue [Part I])]: The open space between Milwaukee and Kedzie Avenues (as desolate as it may be) and the Paseo Prairie Garden at the Logan Square “el” stop, the square itself, and the planned plaza south of the square can potentially kill foot traffic on this retail corridor, the same as parking lots and blank walls can.  To replace the space of the plaza planned for the farmers market with an orchard (see image below and compare to the image at Open space and Milwaukee Avenue [Part I] ) would be even more detrimental to maintaining the flow of foot traffic.

Proposed Community Orchard on Milwaukee Ave.

As I understand it, on a few days the orchard’s crop might be available for picking by the community, but not necessarily, which suggests the space that some hope for the orchard would be closed off to
passers-by for most of the, if not all year.  Contrast that with an at least weekly active market for five months of the year (see rendering left), that might also be used for other community events that generate activity.

Not that I’m opposed to fruit trees.  In fact, I think fruit trees as parkway trees along Milwaukee Avenue would be a good idea.  Someone (I don’t remember who) pointed out to me that that might be messy and attract unwanted rodents.  It might not if well-managed.  Fruit trees in this location might attract, rather than detract from, foot traffic as folks might come out to pick the (literally) low-hanging fruit.  Then maybe an organization like C.R.O.P. could harvest the hard to reach fruit in exchange for managing the trees and keeping fruit off the ground.

What do you think?


Spring diversions in Logan Square:

Craft Mafia’s Do It Your Own D*mn Self Show :  Saturday, April 17, from 12:00 – 4:00 p.m. at 2312 N. Milwaukee Avenue; for your craft supply needs.

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5 Responses to Fertile fields of Milwaukee Avenue?

  1. Carter says:

    I love the idea, but would agree this is not the right spot.

    The idea this would be well-managed when Milwaukee Ave is often full of litter seems unlikely to me.

    I think a more likely outcome would be the curious picking the fruit before its ready.

    The reclaimed parkland just west of the Skate Park, or one of the Boulevard park strips seems like a better option, where at least people would have to go a bit out of their way.

    I hope the organization checks in with the Openlands organization for their thoughts, as they oversee the Treekeepers volunteer program.

  2. […] in my backyard (2) Friday, 14 May 2010 by payton An open letter sent to CROP, regarding a proposed orchard […]

  3. To update you, the Logan Square Farmers Market WAS considering use of that parcel of land, but they have deemed it too small and insufficient for their needs. They have since pursued plans with the city to open the market in the heart of the Logan Square Park for this summer (which is a great way to make that market even more visible and accessible to the community.)

    So CROP is a great proposal for using the irregular site that runs around the CTA subway lines right of way. It includes a proposal for a public access plaza with benches and plantings for recreation that faces onto the Logan Square activity and a separate section that would be the protected orchard. Thus, the open air plaza would not hinder the foot traffic you are concerned about and mention in your post; rather it could potentially aid it. It would certainly be better than a bunch of parked cars!

    CROP is a great plan that is worth supporting, especially since I don’t see many others currently on the table. But if there are other plans, please do share them in detail.

    • Jason: While I’m not advocating for the parking lot, I see the orchard proposal hindering foot traffic as much, if not more, than the current parking lot. The people parking their cars drive to a destination for a purpose. The orchard would not provide that, but dead space, of which we have enough already. ~ Lynn

  4. ben says:

    My wife is always complaining that she doesn’t volunteer enough. Well, she has an M.P.P. from the Humphrey Institute (UMN), used to be a lobbyist, and is bi-lingual (Spanish/English). I told her she should become engaged with the lobbying needs for this space. Ideas anyone?

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