Orchard for ALL!

Community Gleaning Project

Building on the 5 years of success of our Annual Fruit Tree Giveaway, where we have given away 400 fruit trees to our community each year, Urban Tilth is inspired to create a NEW youth employment and training program that will teach young people from Richmond how to plant and care for fruit trees properly.

Orchard for ALL! is a project that will create a community orchard, using hundreds of Richmond backyards to increase access to healthy, delicious fruit for families who struggle with food insecurity. With this project, we hope to address the inaccessibility of fresh fruits in Richmond and uplift our youth through employment training and opportunities, to grow their civic engagement within their community.  

The design of Orchard for All! leverages fruit trees that are already planted in our project area, to increase access to healthy food in Richmond, while decreasing food waste. Orchard for ALL! will hire and train 8 youth each year to participate in the annual Summer Youth Apprentice Training Program where they join a special Orchard for ALL! crew to learn in-depth knowledge of the botany, biology, and morphology of fruit trees and fruit tree care. 

The Orchard for ALL! crew will also get to learn about organic tree care and pest management, including the integrated pest management approach (IPM), as well as culling and harvest techniques and safe tools usage. Crew members will also strengthen their customer service skills and learn best practices for performing services for clients around their homes. They will learn about climate change, the importance of preserving plant diversity, conservation of resources, and responsible stewardship of land.

After six weeks of training, youth on the Orchard for ALL crew will have the opportunity to be hired onto our year-round Orchard for ALL team and care for local fruit trees, harvest, and redistribute fruit to local families in need. These hard arborist skills and soft employment skills will help young people secure higher-paying jobs in land management or encourage them to pursue more education in ecological fields.

In exchange for this offer of FREE fruit tree care services, participating families will be asked to donate a portion of the fruit harvested from their trees that might otherwise go to waste to Urban Tilth, where the Orchard for ALL team will then redistribute the fruit to families in need through our FREE farm stands and Veggie Rx boxes.

If you’re interested in utilizing Orchard for ALL’s Gleaning and Tree Care program click the button below to apply! Sign up for our Gleaning Program!

Please fill out the form below if you are interested in a free fruit tree. You must be able to pick it up from our Farm in North Richmond.

The Orchard of ALL Gleaners Program is looking for applicants! Click the button below to apply to become an apprentice!

Program Impact 

  • For the past 4 years, through a celebrated annual event, Urban Tilth has given away hundreds of fruit trees: apples, pomelos, oranges, peaches, plums, and apricots. The design of Orchard for All! leverages these fruit trees, already planted in our project area, to increase access to healthy food in Richmond, while decreasing food waste. 
  • Orchard for ALL! also uses successful alternative food distribution mechanisms, 1) FREE pop-up farm stands, 2) CSA deliveries, and 3) VeggieRX pick-up locations, to create additional points of access within walking distance of where families live, eliminating the barriers of transportation and convenience. 
  • Orchard for ALL! will draw on Richmond’s existing assets to make critical health, environmental, and economic changes. 
  • Orchard for ALL! will help to grow and redistribute over 10,000 lbs of fresh, remarkably locally grown produce each year, with that number growing as the trees we will care for mature. 
  • Orchard for ALL! will also plant 1600 additional fruit trees in the project area over the next 5 years, creating opportunities to sequester carbon, cool potential heat islands, and help improve air quality. 
  • Orchard for ALL! will build community, strengthening neighbours’ connections to each other, collectively supporting healthy youth development, and spreading the joy of growing and sharing delicious fruit.

The design of this project is a direct result of community feedback. It formally incorporates this feedback and will formalize fruit tree care, tree owner relationships, fruit-safe harvest, washing and redistribution and create jobs for local youth.

This project originated from post-Fruit Tree Giveaway community feedback (surveys and verbal exchanges with giveaway participants). Through these feedback mechanisms, numerous participants indicated that they would like to support properly planting the fruit trees they received during the giveaways and support either through community workshops and or direct support to properly care for the trees so that they remain healthy, pest-free, and produce fruit. We also received feedback from those with trees predating our giveaways seeking support in collecting and redistributing the fruit as there was too much fruit for them, their families, or their neighbors to eat. 

During the past few years, Urban Tilth staff has informally gone out and helped harvest fruit at a few locations and redistributed this fruit via our FREE farm stands. Now with Orchard for ALL we can formalize these relationships and grow the offering to meet the needs of our community. 

*Check back on this page and the coming program news feeds for updates for the field!