Hi, I'm Dustin Bajer, and in 2015, I fell in love with three apricot trees guerilla gardened on a city boulevard. I planted 100 pits in four square feet in my backyard (25 trees/ sq ft.) that fall. 96 little trees sprouted the following spring, and Forest City Plants Urban Nursery was born. I started selling small trees to local gardeners while figuring out ways to grow thousands of trees in tight urban spaces. If I can produce hundreds of trees in their backyard, imagine what a community of tree growers could accomplish! That's why, in 2021, I started the Shrubscriber (Shrub-Scriber) community!
Members of the Shrubscriber community receive seeds, easy-to-follow propagation videos, and access to events and workshops. In addition, membership fees support research and tree donations to neighbourhood schools, gardens, and community groups.
Imagine a city in alignment with nature. Imagine old-growth trees in our backyards, parks, and boulevards. Imagine ecology soaking up stormwater, growing food, creating a sense of place, mitigating the effects of climate change, and bringing people together. We can grow that future together.
50 Local Apricot Trees Grown By Students at Avonmore Elementary with Support from the Shrubscriber Community
You might be surprised that you grow trees in small urban spaces like backyards, raised beds, or balconies. I've grown thousands of trees in my backyard and at the Edmonton Urban Farm. I believe that a community of growers could grow hundreds of thousands of trees.
Access to trees and green spaces improves mental health and wellbeing, and mitigates climate change. Unfortunately, greenspace is unevenly distributed across neighbourhoods, especially in marginalized communities. Shrubscriber collaborated with NAIT's Bachelor of Technology program to map social indicators across all Edmonton neighbourhoods. We also worked with Community Service Learning students from the University of Alberta to engage community partners in impacted areas.
With help from The King University students, Shrubscriber created a snapshot of Edmonton's urban heat island using infrared satellite data. With social data from NAIT and UofA projects, Shrubscriber can better identify specific Edmonton communities likely to benefit from tree donations.
Your membership helps grow trees and work with local community groups. It covers expenses like seeds, soil, pots, transportation, and time. The more people who join, the more trees we can grow and plant in our communities.
Marginalized communities often have fewer trees, green spaces, and resources - let's fix that. Community partners are chosen based on Community Needs, Project Sustainability, and Public Access.
By joining Shrubscriber, you become a member of a nursery network of backyard tree growers. I've been growing most trees in my Edmonton backyard at the Urban Farm.
Please email us if you have a community-minded project that can benefit from free trees. Becoming a member is unnecessary to receive trees, but the excess resources and community support can be helpful.
We started in Edmonton, but we believe that food security and climate change adaptation are essential for all municipalities - the world needs more trees. So, while focussing on Edmonton, we'd like to grow the project over time.
Yes. Send me an email if you would like to buy a Shrubscriber membership on behalf of someone else. Upon payment, we will share an access link with the person of your choice.
Growing trees takes time, and we want to share the journey, so we ask our members to sign up for a one-year commitment. But we promise it's worth it for you and the trees!