Image from Friends of Grand Rapids Parks.

Helping Trees by Drinking Beer:

First the tech community and now the beer community. The urban forest is getting a big boost from several industries.

The beer community in Grand Rapids, Michigan has come together again this year with the urban forest group to raise money in the effort to increase the city’s canopy.

According to an article by MLive, 21 local breweries, a cidery, a homebrew supply store and several Grand Rapids bars and restaurants started serving “tree-themed beer”. Part of the sales will go to fund the planting of new trees around the area.

Last year, 17 breweries in Grand Rapids raised more than $8,000 to establish the Brewers Grove in Riverside Park. The sale of specialty beers funded the planting of 30 trees under the Brewers Grove project.

The project started in 2013 when local brewers asked Friends of Grand Rapids Parks how they could celebrate being named Beer City USA by giving back to parks and public spaces. They came up with the idea to create tree-themed beers that would be offered for a limited time with proceeds going directly to FGRP’s Urban Forest Project and tree plantings.

By ordering one of the tree-themed beers, residents can help in the effort to plant more trees in the community parks. The beers will be available from 29 August to 12 September (or until they run out!).

The Urban Forest Project is funded by the Grand Rapids Community Foundation and a U.S. Forest Service grant. Their goal is to grow the city’s canopy to the 40 percent mark by 2035. At the moment, it’s around 34 percent.

“We seek to offer a diverse menu of opportunities for citizens to learn about and directly impact the city’s urban forest. From planting to pruning, we can each do our part to maximise the tree canopy in all parts of the city so that everyone in Grand Rapids can experience the cultural, social, economic, public health, and environmental benefits of trees,” the project website said.

The Urban Forest project was launched after the 2011 Green Grand Rapids amendment to the city’s master plan established 40 percent tree canopy goal in the area.

“We want to be a benefit to the community that is very supportive of us and our industry,” Jackson VanDyke, co-owner of Harmony told MLive. “This is a great way for the breweries to collaborate and do something positive for our city.”

Grand Rapids Beer Tours is also hosting tours to select breweries so people can try the tree beers without having to travel.

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