Thursday, February 26, 2009

Vegetable Oil in Ventura

We were able to fill to capacity the vegetable oil collection tank on our fueling truck on monday when we met up with Nico, a local Plant Drive straight vegetable oil conversion installer in Ventura. There we were able to gather 180 gallons of recycled vegetable oil that Nico had stockpiled from local restaurants. Our 7 vehicle fleet of 3 busses, 3 trucks, and a station wagon will be able to travel 250 miles collectively with this re-used kitchen grease. But first the oil must be heated, filtered, and transfered into all the vehicles by our state of the art high flow triple filter system and the know how of our veggie mechanic team.

Monday, February 23, 2009

Eco Hip Hop from this year's performance

We promise a video of this year’s Green Theatre performance will be posted soon. In the meantime- here is some audio of a scene from the show! In this clip- Fruit Tree Tour poets and musicians in residence, Jahsun and Sandra play the role of a farmer and a city dweller debating the merits of planting trees and growing your own food. Backed by the Common Vision Band!

Above is a slide show of the best stage pictures from our Green Theatre performance. (Trouble viewing? Click here.) As the scenes unfold we meet a time traveling professor and two companions who have come back from the future to warn of the effects of climate change. They break down the basics of the greenhouse effect and give some guidance as to how to help, leaving with some inspiring words -"Remember, our actions today create the future of tomorrow." Other characters include a bird who calls on people to listen to the earth's song, the farmer and city dweller, the earth, sun, moon, and comets. Of course the whole play culminates into a crescendo of Eco Hio Hop backed by the Common Vision Band rocking out and all the cast members up on the stage dancing.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

185 Apple Trees at the MA Center!

This Valentine's Day also marked the celebration of the 20th anniversary of the MA Center and the first planting event of Fruit Tree Tour 2009. Common Vision has been working with international environmental organization, GreenFriends, to design the MA Center landscape as a model of sustainability. After focusing the fall and winter on rainwater harvesting strategies and reforestation plantings, the MA Center was ready to expand their orchards.

With a goal of 500 trees this year, the Common Vision team helped plant 185 apple trees in the first planting event of the tour. It is likely that the tour will return in April for another community planting.

Having trouble viewing slideshow? Click here.

Friday, February 13, 2009

Continuing Burbank's Legacy with White Fig Cuttings

Trouble viewing? Click Here. We are just now finishing up our time here at Isis Oasis, the second stop on Fruit Tree Tour Orientation. On this property there are a number of fruit trees, some of which were originally planted by Luther Burbank, an American botanist, horticulturist and a pioneer in agricultural science who developed more than 800 strains and varieties of plants over his 55 year career beginning in 1872. Richard Channing, a resident at Isis Oasis offered to help us harvest cuttings from an old white fig tree that Luther Burbank planted on the property nearly 100 years ago. We climbed up in the fig to simultaneously prune the tree and take what was cut for further propagation of white fig trees across California at schools and communities. We will take these cuttings with us to plant at our Roots to Fruits Nursery at the Alpha Center in Santa Barbara where they will be cared for as they root and grow ready to be transplanted next year. We are super grateful for the opportunity to share these amazing strains of Figs with other fruit lovers. Thank you Isis Oasis!
Koral and

Monday, February 9, 2009

Orientation 2009

Trouble viewing slides? Click here. After two months of extensive preparations, Fruit Tree Tour crew veterans and newcomers gathered in Hopland, CA to kick off the 2009 tour with a busy orientation schedule. Along with getting to know each other, learning about what to expect on a typical school day, trying out for various roles in the performance, and enjoying sumptuous vegan meals, there were also some projects with buses and support vehicles to finish up. Colton, a tour alumnus finished a magical transformation of the interior of the Jah Lioness Bus. Also two new support vehicles were converted to run on vegetable oil and joined tour, a pickup truck for hauling soil and a new utility truck for gathering vegetable oil with a triple filtration system, 35 gpm gathering pump and a 200 gallon crude veggie oil storage tank.
A big thank you to Brock and Sarah long time supporters who opened their home to us as the first gracious host home of 2009 along with their daughters Daya and Jah Lila. Some long awaited winter rains finally arrived which was fantastic for the Hopland area ecosystems but not so great when it was time to leave and we found that the buses had sunk into the patch of dirt where they were parked making taking off a muddy and slippery ordeal. Luckily we had the awesome power of the Dodge Cummins Turbo Diesel motor plus the driving skills of Leo Buc our alternative fuels expert and Hopland firefighter and Blair Philips the tour founder and bus driver extroidinaire. The support of the crew was also crucial, as an unofficial team building exercise unfolded with crew members gathering to push on the back of Jah Lioness while the Dodge pulled from the front. With all the buses miraculously unstuck we headed out to Isis Oasis, our next orientation location.
The Isis Oasis is a retreat center in Gyserville that also hosts a number of rare wild cats and exotic birds. After a tour of the white peacocks, ocelots, cervils, emus, and macaws, we got down to business hammering out the details of our performance and finishing the props with our beloved director Bridget Barsotti. We also delved deep into building curriculum for the expression session and drum group workshops. We are looking forward to going deeper into the tree-planting curriculum in preparation for our first community planting on Feb. 14th at the MA Center in San Ramon and our first school Feb 17th in Santa Cruz.