Fresh produce and other high-quality foods provide us with the resources we need to prepare healthy meals. Unfortunately, not all communities have access to fully-stocked grocery stores and local produce stands. These communities are called food deserts.
And when quick and convenient meals are the only options available, consumers risk the quality of their health and future. The good news is that some communities are taking action to fight food deserts … and trees are part of the solution.
East Cleveland, Ohio, is one of several American cities that lack sufficient options for fresh, local and healthy food. To help reverse the trend, the community voted for its McGregor Home/Community Garden to receive a new fruit tree orchard through the nationwide Communities Take Root Program.
Edy's® Fruit Bars partnered with the Fruit Tree Planting Foundation to develop Communities Take Root three years ago. McGregor's new orchard, which was planted on Sept. 17, is one of hundreds that have been sponsored by the program so far. And The Davey Tree Expert Company's Northeast Cleveland team was happy to get these 40 new fruit trees, including apples, cherries, pears and plums, off to a great start with mulch and Arbor Green PRO® fertilizer treatments.
|Approximately 80 volunteers helped plant the new fruit trees at McGregor.|
Why is it so important to properly maintain these trees right from the get-go? Because one orchard can produce up to 300,000 pounds of fresh fruit each year, according to Melissa Marasco, Edy's Fruit Bars Communities Take Root spokesperson. "It's important to maintain the trees so they can continue to bear fruit in another hundred years," she says. "The orchards require a very little investment for such a big return."
The fruit tree orchard donation will not only provide a safe environment to help the East Cleveland community learn how the benefits of a healthful diet can lessen the risks of diseases, but also help clean the air, improve soil quality, prevent erosion, create an animal habitat and provide healthy, nutritious fresh fruit, Marasco explains.
The Fruit Tree Planting Foundation's mission is to plant 18 billion fruit trees worldwide, specifically in places that can help eliminate food deserts and benefit needy communities. So far, Communities Take Root has planted approximately 1,600 trees and 20 orchards per year.