YOLO FARM TO FORK
A veggie-oil-powered bus, a refrigerated truck storing fruit trees and for hauling soil, and a runner vehicle pulled into Zamora Elementary in Woodland on Monday. Common Vision’s “fruit tree tour” of 18 farmers and educators came to assist with the planting of 16 new fruit trees alongside the school’s established garden, and also provided the installation of a drip irrigation system for the new orchard.
Common Vision has been planting and supporting school orchards across the state for a decade. Every tree is selected to be climate appropriate, disease resistant, and easy to grow, providing delicious fruit that can be picked during the school year.
Varieties planted at Zamora included apples, apricots, persimmons, pomegranate, and figs. In addition to producing fresh fruit, the orchard is an integral part of the school’s garden program where students get to literally taste the fruits of their labor.
But they did more than plant trees. Classes separated into groups led by Common Vision’s corps of volunteer members. Some students helped prepare the ground and plant trees, while volunteers educated students in a fun way about plants and the importance of having a part in producing one’s own food. Small planting groups explore how their actions locally have an impact on their community and the greater eco-system.
Other students participated in Common Vision’s artistic projects, such as storytelling and the painting of orchard signs. Signs work as giant labels carrying names of each fruit varieties while infusing the young orchard with colorful reminder of the spirit of cooperation, respect, and earth care they cultivated together.
Common Vision’s trip to Zamora Elementary was made possible by “Futures” grant funding from Yolo Farm to Fork. Earlier this year, Yolo Farm to Fork, with support from Orchard Hill Family Fund, awarded “Futures” garden grants to six elementary schools, with the highest priority given to those in which 50% or more of the students are eligible for free or reduced-price meals.
By teaching children how to plant, care for, and eat from the gardens at our schools, we are empowering the next generation with the tools, appreciation, and pride of growing and eating healthful, fresh food.