A piece of fresh fruit in a grocery store has traveled an average of 1,200 miles and been handled by an average of 6 people on its way there – 20% of the energy cost of that fruit was due to the packaging necessary to transport it in a presentable condition. The knowledge of how to grow fresh, local fruit has largely been lost to mega-farms in Washington State and California. The Urban Orchard Project was started in 1999 to reintroduce this valuable knowledge to ordinary people by planting groves of locally adapted fruit and nut trees and to use those trees as a platform to teach people how to grow fresh fruit using healthy, organic methods.
Starting with a small orchard in a public housing project in 1999 the program has grown to include orchards approaching one acre in size. During the 2010/2011 planting season, TreeFolks helped five community groups plant small orchards at Festival Beach Community Garden, Jordan Elementary Community Garden, Laurel Mountain Elementary, Manchaca United Methodist Community Garden and Reagan High School Community Garden.
TreeFolks is reorganizing the structure of its programs and services. The Urban Orchard Project will be unavailable during the 2012-2013 planting season. We will continue offering workshops to teach fruit & nut tree selection, establishment and care to the community. Please sign up for our e-newsletter or check our calendar to stay informed of all tree distribution events and classes.
Are you a past Urban Orchard Project participant? We would love to hear about your experience. How did the experience build relationships, improve access to fresh food, or contribute to your curriculum?
Please send your stories, comments and photos to: email@example.com.