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Fruit Tree Tour aims to promote a healthier California


by Andrea Koskey

Common Vision’s sixth annual Fruit Tree Tour, a 30-city, 70-day tour to plant more than 1,000 fruit trees, will be in San Francisco on April 10. The nonprofit’s project director, Megan Watson, explains the significance of their work. For more information, visit www.commonvision.org.

What is the mission of the Fruit Tree Tour?

The larger mission is to create a healthier and more-just planet, starting in California. Our primary outreach is to low-income, rural communities across 30 cities in the state.

The tree-planting program primarily visits underserved neighborhoods where liquor stores outnumber fresh-food grocers. Why are there fewer fresh foods in these neighborhoods?

Not exactly sure of circumstances that created the disproportionate access, but we’ve seen that in all of the low-income neighborhoods. It is a dramatic fact of life. The state average is four to one, liquor to grocery stores. Many of the communities we visit can be 10 to one. It’s very dramatic.

What do you teach?

The day program focuses on local foods, community building and climate change. We have 25 volunteers that come on the tour.

What part of the tour’s message do you find kids most respond to?

Probably working together to create local foods. It’s one of the greatest needs, since over 80 percent of the students we reach are on free and reduced lunch. Having local foods and access to those foods is important.

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