Coimbatore

Their parting gift to Coimbatore was an orchard

Completing their one-year internship with an NGO, two German youths leave behind a garden full of fruit-bearing trees

For a year, the two young Germans toiled for environment protection in Coimbatore. When they left, Merlin Stein, 19, and Yannic Hinrichs, 18, gave a juicy gift to the city — a fruit orchard called ‘Future Gardens located on a site owned by the city Corporation at Ondipudur. The duo, who will be flying back to Germany from Delhi in a few days, has called it their “long-term gift to Coimbatore”.

During their one-year internship with Siruthuli as part of an exchange programme, they were regular faces at clean-up drives at polluted water bodies and rivers in the industrial city.

Siruthuli campaigns for the restoration of river Noyyal, conservation of water bodies and wetlands in Coimbatore. Before they left, the Germans embarked on the ‘Future Gardens’ project. S

ome 20 different varieties of saplings of fruit-bearing trees have been planted with the support of volunteers from NGOs like Osai, Environmentalist Foundation of India and Kovai Vergal.

Sustaining the saplings

Commissioner of Coimbatore Corporation K. Vijayakarthikeyan launched the initiative on Sunday by planting the first of 21 local fruit-bearing trees such as guava, mango, sapodilla and jackfruit, to name a few. According to Mr. Stein, the main objective of the orchard is to improve the air quality and the greenery of the city. “It also helps to provide a place to play, study, relax and meditate in a natural atmosphere apart from creating a supporting ecosystem for small animals and birds. In addition, the initiative engages citizens to care for nature and sustain it long-term,” said Mr. Stein in an email communication to The Hindu before leaving Coimbatore on Tuesday.

One often hears of saplings being planted but dying out because they were not attended to thereafter. But, Mr. Stein and Mr. Hinrichs have arranged for the long-term care of the trees. Coimbatore-based NGO, Foodbank, along with nearby Kasthuri Nagar Owners Association, has taken up the responsibility of maintaining the garden. For Foodbank, which distributes home-made food to homeless people, the fruits will be welcome nutrition for the people they serve.

“In five years, the fruits will be available for the homeless. The reason why I founded Future Gardens is that we have lost the connection to our environment (but not to WiFi). When was the last time you sat silently in nature, just to calm down and listen to the birds? Every Future Garden is meant to be a place where everyone can do exactly that,” said a Facebook post by Mr. Stein.

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Printable version | Jul 13, 2020 5:25:01 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Coimbatore/their-parting-gift-to-coimbatore-was-an-orchard/article19219978.ece

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