It’s hard to wrap an orchard in a big red bow, but a tree is a practical present that yields a new crop year after year.
Two years ago the Giving Grove, a nonprofit organization under the umbrella of Kansas City Community Gardens, started planting micro-orchards around the city. The idea is to provide a sustainable and nutrient-rich food source by planting fruit trees in food deserts, vacant lots, next to food pantries or on school or church grounds.
A single semi-dwarf apple tree can produce 300 to 500 pounds of fruit each year for the next 25 years. In fall 2013 and spring 2014, Giving Grove volunteers planted 413 fruit trees. Multiply that by the life of each tree and you’re talking about producing 2.9 million pounds of food for families in need.
And the beauty of an apple over an eggplant or an ear of corn?
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“It goes straight to the belly. There is no preparation,” says executive director Rob Reiman.
The Giving Grove is accepting holiday donations: give a fruit tree for ($50), a raised berry bed ($150) or an entire orchard (up to 20 trees) for $1,000. You can even do it online.