Designed to increase New York City’s fruit tree canopy cover, provide communities with access to fresh and healthy food, promote food literacy, and teach proper cultivation and harvesting techniques.
For the past six years, Trees New York has worked towards dispelling the myth that fruit trees are unproductive in urban settings. Trees New York partners with community gardens and public schools to prove that fruit trees can be successfully integrated into garden design.
FruiTrees New York extends beyond the planting and harvesting of fruit trees. Volunteers engage in hands-on activities while they learn about relevant urban environmental issues and food systems. Activities include planting fruit trees, planting small fruit bushes, creating pollinator habitats, analyzing soil tests, espalier tying and building trellises.
This year, Trees New York will partner with youth-led organizations and use fruit trees and woody plants as a vehicle to strengthen local food systems in underserved communities. The objective of FruiTrees New York is to increase students understanding of local food systems and increase their access to fresh food through environmental education, guest speakers and hands-on activities.
Trees New York’s goal for 2017 is to work with a minimum of 80 students and plant 20 fruit trees. The program is customized to meet our partner organizations’ needs, therefore, the number of sessions is flexible, but each group must commit to a minimum of 8 hours over a minimum of 4 sessions.
Partners will select from one of two curriculum tracks – planting or preservation. In addition to the introductory lessons, each group chooses an additional 3-4 lessons for Trees New York’s curriculum menu.
Planting – This track is for groups that want to plant fruit trees and woody plants. Groups have the unique opportunity to plant fruit bearing trees and to harvest their bounty for years to come.
Preservation– This track is for groups seeking to take corrective action on existing fruit trees and woody plants in their garden. Trees New York receives many inquiries from community gardens seeking help for inadequate fruit production, pest management and pruning technique training.
Highlights from 2016
Trees New York and 12 students from the Rockaway Youth Task Force planted 15 fruit trees in a garden that was founded following the devastation from Superstorm Sandy. To celebrate the community’s progress since the storm, the planting was held on the garden’s day of service. Species included beach plum, apple and paw paw.
In partnership with iDig2Learn and the Girl Scouts, Trees New York planted 5 apple trees on Roosevelt Island. We provided lessons on pruning, pollination and fruit set, carbon footprint, and harvesting.
If your after-school group is interested in participating in Trees New York’s FruiTrees New York program, please contact Cheryl Blaylock, Director of Youth Programs at firstname.lastname@example.org subject line: FruiTrees New York.