Saturday, December 8, 2007

California Rare Fruit Growers

The California Rare Fruit Growers is an inspiring organization that over the past three years has played a pivotal role in the Fruit Tree Tour. The organization is an eclectic group of hobbyists, backyard growers, government and university researchers, nurserymen and commercial growers that focus on growing fruit varieties that are not commonly grown commercially. They have been instrumental in diversifying the fruit varieties that Common Vision plants at the schools and extending the number of months that students can pick fruit from trees in their schoolyard.

This year Common Vision will be working hand-in-hand with several members of the Rare Fruit Growers to make possible the Fruit Tree Tour Nursery Rroject. The goal of the project is to grow 1000 trees a year that will provide schools from San Diego to Sacramento with fruiting trees that have delicious fruit of numerous varieties to harvest in ALL months of the school season. Stay tuned for more as this project develops!

Here are some of the key Rare Fruit Growers who have made a substantial contribution to the project to date:

Steven Spangler of the San Diego CRFG chapter and owner of Exotica Nursery has provided Fruit Tree Tour with an incredible mix of banana, tropical cherry, guava, fig, and cherimoya varieties that have been planted at schools throughout LA.

Each year Jerry Price also of the San Diego chapter has provided a workshop each year for the crew on tree care and planting and has been Common Vision’s go-to guy on all of our tree care questions.

Joe Sabol of the Central Coast CRFG chapter has run a High School Grafting Program where every spring he teaches students at 30 schools across the central coast to graft there own apple trees. This program has helped over 10,000 students to graft trees since 1998. This year he will be running a workshop for the Fruit Tree Tour crew to increase the crew’s grafting and teaching capacity for the Roots-to-Fruits Program.

Mark Alpert
of the Mendocino CRFG chapter donated over fifty pineapple guava seedlings and hundreds of Jujube (Chinese dates) seeds last year which are growing in Santa Barbara area currently waiting patiently until they are old enough to go to school with the Fruit Tree Tour.

John Valenzuela currently of the Bay Area CRFG Chapter has been a key guide in the development of the Fruit Tree Tour Nursery Project plan. As an elder in the permaculture (sustainable design) movement, John is always suggesting innovative ways to do the least work for the most gain and to make the best use of local resources.

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