We are still saddened and, quite frankly, stunned about the death of Michael Juras, who worked diligently for the past four years to make the Rosewood Public Orchard a success. Michael had extraordinary vision and expertise. He wanted the orchard to be a shining example of how an urban garden could flourish thanks to all-natural, progressive techniques.
It’s been expressed recently by many people that we need to keep the garden going as a tribute to Michael’s dignity, devotion, and hard work. I have attached a 38-page document that he and his Columbia Resilience colleagues created to outline a plan for the orchard. Let’s use it as a starting point, and as a guide as we move forward. The words below are from Michael himself, taken from an email he sent to city officials just a few days before his death:
“Attached is the Rosewood Public Orchard Assessment and Design authored by my Columbia Resilience colleagues. This document was made available to Todd Martin and Graham Taylor subsequent to Jeff Caton, Ray Williams and Graham touring the orchard site at the time we began building the topsoil with City leaves. The document provides site history including demographics, climate, and soil analysis. It also articulates the strategy for producing a community food forest intended to be an example for what can be applied elsewhere in the Midlands. Be aware that work to this point entails the early stages of development. I encourage you to peruse the entire document.
- Page 20 for Goals Articulation (Expanded version)
- Page 32 for the guild design that specifies vegetation to replace successional grasses.
- Page 36 for the annual maintenance plan.”
As Michael said, the orchard is still in early stages of development, and there’s work to be done. We will soon be organizing a volunteer group to preserve the Rosewood Public Orchard. Thanks to everyone who wants to volunteer and get their hands a little dirty in the garden. Stay tuned for further notices about how you can get involved.