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Fruit Tree Tour plants roots at Watsonville's New School outdoor program

SANTA CRUZ SENTINEL

by Joanne Sanchez

The world's largest veggie-oil-powered caravan covered in forest-scape murals and carrying 1,000 fruit trees and 27 volunteers rolled into Watsonville on Thursday as part of its annual 20-city, 70-day tour to urban schools from San Diego to Sacramento.

In a one-of-a-kind daylong interactive outdoor program that includes West African agricultural drumming and ecoconscious hip-hop, Common Vision's Fruit Tree Tour taught students at New School how to turn barren school yards into abundant orchards, creating living classrooms with the potential to produce enough fresh fruit for the school's cafeteria and community.

Each year the tour visits first-time schools to plant new fruit trees while returning to old school orchards to start new initiatives like Roots to Fruits: School Nurseries to Feed Communities, a grafting program and Harvest Hip Hop, a roots-rhythm rap contest.

All along the way, the caravan connects and collaborates with nutrition networks and community groups working to plant trees, grow gardens and eradicate hunger, including the California Rare Fruit Growers.

Saturday, the Fruit Tree Tour will host a benefit bash at The Attic, 931 Pacific Ave., Santa Cruz, featuring Arjun & Guardians, Bateria Sabrosa, Love Eternal and the Common Vision Drum Crew & Dancers.

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