Saturday, February 18, 2012

Fruit Tree Tour!

9th annual Fruit Tree Tour gives big boost to school orchard movement
  • Tour returns to tend LA-area school orchards and teach students about tree care
  • Group hosts first-ever LA-are School Orchard Symposium
  • Tour plants new orchards at Bay Area schools
  • Group transforms Rosie the Riveter Memorial Park from rail yard to food forest
Common Vision, the Emmy Award-winning tree-planting theatre troupe, is bringing their famous Fruit Tree Tour back to California public schools for the ninth year running, but this time on a modified mission.
The Los Angeles leg launches their first-ever Orchard Care Tour, taking the tree-planting troupe back to some of the over 180 school orchards planted on past tours. Well in advance of its arrival, the go-getter grassroots group has already organized a city-wide School Orchard Symposium with an impressive list of local participants.
In the Bay Area, Fruit Tree Tour will bring the full award-winning show to first-time schools and go about its magical work of inspiring students to transform their schoolyard into an orchard in just one day. The National Park Service has invited the tour to participate in its Rails to Trails program by planting a food forest at the historic Rosie the Riveter Memorial Park.
For a complete tour schedule go to:

Giving LA-area school orchards some serious TLC
On the LA leg of this year’s tour, the all-volunteer army of modern-day Johnny Appleseeds will forgo the children’s show that earned them an Emmy. Instead the tour will visit select schools to give some TLC, like mulching, pruning and fertilizing, to some of the orchards that Fruit Tree Tour has left in its wake over the past decade.
“The LA leg of this year’s tour is our first one completely devoted to orchard care.” shares Leo Buc, Common Vision’s organic mechanic who keeps the tour’s vegetable oil-powered fleet on the road. “Orchards require continual care, and the whole point of our bare-root road show is to leave a lasting legacy that will bear fruit for generations to come. School orchards are living laboratories, and we are pleased as punch for the chance to teach students how to grow the most fruit possible for their cafeteria and community.”
This year, in place of offering its award-winning green theater to LA-area schools, Common Vision will devote its day-long program instead to teaching students how to optimize their orchards using advanced tree-care techniques.
“Fresh fruit is a gateway food,” shares Michael Flynn, education director for Common Vision. “Kids who get turned on to eating fresh fruit at an early age are more likely to form healthy eating habits that are essential for thriving in the urban food deserts commonplace throughout California. Nearly ten years and 5,000 fruit trees later, the tour is thrilled to return to LA-area public schools to take orchard care to the next level. As principals and parents will tell you, school orchards not only grow free food, but they teach students the power of working together for a common cause.”
Fruit Tree Tour will roll into the Southland ready to install up to 20 Netafim automated drip irrigation systems at LA-area public school orchards.

Supporting a school orchard movement in LA

In cooperation with the Los Angeles Unified School District’s Sustainable Schoolyard Program, Common Vision is also producing the first-ever School Orchard Symposium to share best practices on orchard care with collaborating community groups around the region. Representatives from TreePeople, LA Conservation Corps, Korea Town Youth & Community Center, Los Angeles Neighborhood Land Trust, NorthEast Trees, Orchard Angels, Venice High School, The Learning Garden and other groups will be in attendance.

New orchards and big show in the Bay Area

For the Bay Area leg of its ninth annual tree-planting pilgrimage, Common Vision’s Fruit Tree Tour is partnering with Rock the Bike, Sustainable Living Roadshow, Big Tadoo Puppet Crew, and Climbing Poetree to give students a bigger, better educational experience than ever. The groups are in rehearsal and plan to announce more about this year’s performance prior to the tour’s March arrival in the Bay Area.
In contrast to their first-ever Southern California tree care tour, Common Vision and company will bring their full day-long performance and planting program to never-before-visited Bay Area schools leaving a wave of new orchards in their wake. During Fruit Tree Tour’s visit to the Bay Area this year, Common Vision is also collaborating with the National Park Service’s Rails to Trail program to transform the old overgrown rail yard at Rosie the Riveter Memorial Park into a food forest featuring an edible trail.

Corporate sponsors help fund Fruit Tree Tour

In the nine years since the self-funded California grassroots group first set out its annual tour to transform barren schoolyards into urban orchards, it has picked up some significant sponsors along the way including Kashi, Organic Valley, Nutiva, Netafim, Forever Flowering Greenhouses, Vital Landscaping, Biodiversity and more.
“While the majority of our greenbacks come from grassroots fundraising, corporations and foundations have discovered in Common Vision a donor’s dream come true–a low-overhead organization that delivers lasting results. We are grateful for the growth that their gifts make possible,” shares Megan Watson, a founding member of Common Vision and one of the creators of Fruit Tree Tour.
For a complete tour schedule go to:

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