HomeNewsFruit orchard springs to life at senior care campus

Fruit orchard springs to life at senior care campus

Volunteers plant 58 fruit trees, bushes

According to a new study in the journal Scientific Reports, an additional ten trees on a given block corresponds to a one-per-cent increase in how healthy nearby residents feel. On Friday, May 13, residents of Prairie Ridge Care Center and tenants of Landsmeer Ridge Retirement Community could feel a whole lot healthier after volunteers planted an orchard of fruit trees, berry bushes, and decorative trees on the property.

Volunteers Marlo Fedders, Art Van Riesen, Al Nibbelink, Harvey De Boer, Bill VerSteeg, and Bob Feekes worked with student employees to plant an orchard along the entrance drive to the senior care campus, which is owned and operated by Orange City Area Health System. They planted 14 apple trees, 14 pear trees, 6 cherry trees, 12 Raspberry bushes, 12 Blackberry bushes, and a number of decorative trees.

According to Char Ten Clay, Director of Senior Care for Orange City Area Health System and Administrator at Prairie Ridge, the orchard will be used primarily for residents’ and tenants’ use – for activity projects, food service, and personal enjoyment picking and eating.

The project was the brainchild of Mark Pottebaum, Director of Plant Operations for the health system. “This creative idea of Mark’s will enable us to give tenants and residents close-up views of the growing progress of the orchard,” said Ten Clay. “When the bushes and trees begin bearing fruit the activities and food services departments of both facilities have already been dreaming up great ideas for involving tenants and residents in projects ranging from canning to making desserts to taste-testing buffets to simply picking and eating fresh fruit from our own orchard.”   

According to Ten Clay, space has been left in the center of the orchard to allow the senior living trolley to drive through. 

“This orchard is one more testament to our commitment to ‘think outside the box’ — continually moving forward in providing creative, progressive, meaningful, and dynamic living environments for our seniors,” explained Ten Clay.