Las Vegas Service Project in Ahern Orchard #USA
With the temperatures starting to cool, the Shine City Project group resumed outdoor service projects. On September 11, 2021, they volunteered for the first time at Ahern Orchard. Only a mile away from the casinos of Downtown, this Orchard is located on land that once belonged to Las Vegas’s earliest Korean immigrants.
Between the 1930s and 1940s, Korean immigrant Frank Kim and his Hispanic wife, Juanita Sanchez, owned and operated what was called the Kim Produce Farm. On their twenty-acre farm, from the poor desert soil, Kim and Sanchez were able to successfully grow melons, tomatoes, and onions that supported the local community.
From these humble beginnings, this area of land has become the Ahern Orchard we know today. Breaking ground in February 2016, Ahern Orchard was started by Lloyd Benson of Ahern Rentals. Ahern Orchard currently has 3,200 plants and fruit trees, which cover an area of ten acres. Some of the fruits that can be found there include: peaches, apples, European and Asian pears, figs, pomegranates, and grapes, as well as hybrids such as pluots, plumcots, apriums. All fruits that are grown at Ahern Orchard are donated to local organizations and charities supporting food-insecure families and individuals in Las Vegas.
Twelve Shine City Project volunteers arrived at Ahern Orchard, where they met Picho and other workers. After walking around and receiving a tour through the orchard, they stopped at an open area with garden beds and received instructions on their tasks.
The team helped to prepare garden beds for the next planting season and utilised the morning to mix fertilizer with the existing soil, levelling the soil, and eventually laying out the irrigation tubes on top.
Joining the Shine City Project volunteer activity included Katherine Duncan, of the Harrison House; and Rev. Ken Doo, the local church leader of FFWPU.
It was difficult to work digging into the garden beds to mix the soil, but the volunteers gained an appreciation for the effort that is required in each step of the growing process – from a seed to a fully mature plant or tree. Additionally, the team could realise that even more time and effort is necessary to create and maintain the orchard for what it is today, and they were happy they could contribute too and enjoy this gem in the middle of Las Vegas.