Fruit Tree Tour plants orchards at California’s neediest schools

Kind of hippy, but super cool: A veggie oil–powered caravan packed with tree-planting do-gooders is now touring the state of California, planting orchards at underserved public schools and performing a green theater extravaganza for the students. Started seven years ago byCommon Vision, a nonprofit that brings environmental education programs to needy urban and rural communities, the Fruit Tree Tour now has some serious muscle behind it, thanks to an Emmy Award win in 2008 and a recent sponsorship by organic foods powerhouse Organic Valley.

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Johnny Appleseed Goes to School

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by Della Watson

It's common for city-dwellers to grow up without ever learning to plant a tree or tend a garden, and a California-based group hopes to change that. Eco-theater troupe Common Visionrecently embarked on their annual Fruit Tree Tour in a veggie oil-powered bus caravan with stops scheduled at schools throughout the state. At each school, the group inspires eco-awareness through skits about the environment and eco-raps set to traditional African drum beats.

Emphasizing the value of local food, the group helps kids plant fruit trees on their school grounds. "Simple acts like planting a tree and growing food have a ripple effect that can create big change for a healthier people and planet," says organizer Megan Watson. Now in its 7th year, the Fruit Tree Tour has given about 45,000 students the experience of planting a tree and watching it grow.

Organic Valley Helps Fruit Tree Tour

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Organic Valley is helping Common Vision’s Emmy Award-winning Fruit Tree Tour bring its green theater to urban kids. In a circus-like program featuring a live band, puppets and characters like the rhyming farmer, a team of time-traveling ecogeeks, and Wendy Bob, a 5-foot singing earthworm, bring to life important lessons about healthy food and where it comes from.

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