By Kaylene Johnson-Sullivan
Alaska fruit growers are a generous bunch. Ira Edwards is known around Alaska as an avid outdoorsman who fishes, hunts, cycles, and skis—these days from a wheelchair or other adaptive gear. What people may not know is that he’s also an avid gardener and fruit grower.
Edwards believes in community and among his many passions, he teaches kids with disabilities to ski and is establishing apple orchards at local schools. Through an Alaska Community Forestry Program grant, he grafted 100 baby trees two years ago and then partnered with the Trailside Elementary PTA in Anchorage to plant the trees on school grounds last year.
“The end goal is apples for kids and then apples for everyone,” Edwards said. The apple harvest, still 10 years down the road, will be donated to local food banks.