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An orchard planted by an elderly couple in the remote town of Kenmore Park is providing locally-produced food and employment opportunities to the Indigenous residents of the community.
It was planted in 2005 by Brenton and Margaret Pope, now in their eighties, and is designed to improve food security on the Anangu Pitjantjatjara Yankunytjatjara (APY) Lands, which cover about 100,000 square kilometres of Indigenous-owned land. The orchard was established as a charitable organisation and is run completely off bore water and a solar power system.
It's been a strong year for the orchard, which has produced four tonnes of apricots, six tonnes of grapes and hundreds of buckets of mandarins this season, with some of the fruit being supplied into Alice Springs this year. 'Fruit's been too costly for them,' said Mr Pope. 'The customer's getting them for about $3 a kilogram instead of probably about $10 at the supermarkets.'
Mr Pope's focus for 2014 is to share their knowledge with surrounding communities in the hope of seeing other functioning orchards developed across Central Australia. 'I'd love to see something near Ernabella, out near Western Australia and one here. And I'd like to see vegetable gardens in every backyard,' he said.
Source: ABC Rural