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Growing Together: Neighborhood Orchard Project

Growing Together was created to facilitate the growing of food and community through neighbors joining together to plant community owned trees in the front and back yards of homes in the SF East Bay. This is a project to grow a more resilient, regenerative culture in our cities. It greens and beautifies city space, and has many ecological benefits for the local environment. It creates opportunities for neighbors to meet, connect and bond, and for communities to begin thinking about where our food comes from. It enables city residents to witness food growing and builds local long term food security and nature connection. In places where health, economic and environmental crises are part of the everyday reality, fruit trees are a beacon of light, an instrument of great peace. To us, basic environmental health includes having clean air to breathe and fresh food to eat, and fruit trees will provide these and other services for decades to come.

We provide the fruit trees and basic tree care education at no cost and help in planting and long term maintenance and the residents care for the tree and share the fruit. We will be planting in underserved neighborhoods in the San Francisco East Bay, with a focus on the tree-sparse and food insecure areas of East Oakland and West Oakland. Therefore, the populations served are urban people, predominantly people of color, communities experiencing food insecurity, dealing with violence and pollution and lacking significant nature connection.

Our goal is to plant 1,000 fruit trees in people's yards and in community spaces in our first year. Accordingly we will teach between 40-50 tree care workshops and hold 40-50 community planting days with 15-25 households participating in each. After our first year of planting, we also aim to further develop our website and create materials to share our innovative model for tree planting to help others to implement similar projects in their own communities.

Funded by San Francisco, CA (February 2013)