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College has big plans for new orchard

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Faculty, staff and students at Inver Hills Community College have a new apple orchard to help fight hunger. 

The orchard of 50 trees, planted on Friday, is an extension of a community garden started at the college this spring. That garden produced more than 1,500 pounds of produce this year for local food shelves and homeless shelters.

Psychology professor Barbara Curchack teamed up with a professor at Metro State University to start the projects. She says fighting hunger is just one of the goals.

"We are very interested in bringing the community back to community college," Curchack said. "When people go to community college, they come, they take their classes and they go home. We're interested in having a place where the students feel a sense of belongingness, where they say, 'I come to school here, and I meet these people, and I garden.'"

Curchack added: "Although I will say that our school is very interested in the idea of possibly having some way for some of the food to go to some of our students. Because we have ... a very large proportion of our students who are hungry themselves."

The orchard was made possible by a grant from the Fruit Tree Planting Foundation.