by Abbie Stutzer
Common Vision is the type of community-oriented group every food and environment lover wants in their state. The organization has humble roots and has grown significantly since its inception a decade ago. At its start, Common Vision dedicated itself to planting orchards at low-income schools throughout California. To achieve that goal, the band of Northern Californian activists jumped into their pair of retrofitted buses (that ran on recycled vegetable oil and solar power) to hoof it to the schools. Since then, Common Vision has planted more than 6,500 fruit trees at hundreds of California schools that span from San Diego to Sacramento.
Common Vision chose to plant fruit orchards because its goal is to give children opportunities to have a direct relationship with healthy, organic food. But, as the group said in a recent statement, “growing social inequality deprives millions of California students of this right. Today, over 6.5 million American kids live in food deserts, and 3.6 million are enrolled in free and reduced public school lunch programs in California alone. For many kids a school lunch of over-processed, high-calorie filler is their main meal of the day.”
Planting orchards allow these students to get hands-on practice with water-efficient farming and harvesting healthy food. And the organization’s great work doesn’t go unnoticed — it has received financial support from corporations, such as Nutiva and Clif Bar.
Because Common Vision has garnered positive support and has done so much good with what little it originally had, the organization is aiming to do a whole lot more “good” now.
Along with the help of singer/songwriter Jason Mraz, and Organic Valley, the largest organic farming cooperative in the U.S., Common Vision plans to plant 1,000 more fruit trees at more California schools by 2025. The all-volunteer group has launched an Indiegogo campaign to achieve its goal – all they need is $60,000 (a hefty but doable amount) to get its mega-project started.