The Tour De Fruit bike ride will lead participants around to different fruit trees growing in our neighborhood including pears, apples, paw paws, persimmons, plums, apricots, peaches, mulberries, cherries, and juneberries.  The group ride will begin at the IMC Bike Project and end at La Casa, a co-op house where the residents are working on a permaculture food forest.  The purpose of the ride is to share knowledge trees, identify native edibles, engage with the community and talk about new ways of navigating our landscape.  Each stop on the route will have time for activities and discussion with a snack at the end.

Meet at the Bike Project at 6:30. This will be a 3-4 mile ride. Bring a helmet and containers to collect fruit.

UPDATE: There’s an good write-up about the ride in Smile Politely.

On April 22nd we went to Stratton Elementary School and planted a pear tree. The event was two-part. We visited a kindergarten class earlier in the week to talk about trees and fruit. We read stories about trees and JP blew out some songs on the harmonica for the kids to sing along. Here’s some of the cute little didies in case you care to sing them out loud to yourself or your family. First one: sung to the tune of “I’m a Little Teapot,” I’m a Little Seedling. I love Spring. I need sun and watering. Put me in soil, if you please. When I grow up I’ll be a tree. Another one: sung to “If You’re Happy and You Know It,” It is spring and it’s time to plant a tree. It is spring and it’s time to plant a tree. It is spring, that’s the season. We don’t need a better reason. It is spring and it’s time to plant a tree.

On Earth day we returned to the classroom and proceeded to the school courtyard for the planting. With 25 or so five-year-olds we ended up digging in cycles. Groups not planting sat around eating dried pears and learning about trees, fruits and seasonal availability. As a surprise for JP and I the class had learned the song Inch By Inch by Pete Seeger complete with hand motions. JP had brought his guitar so it was a lovely musical combination.

There are many benefits to planting at a school: Some of these kids will attend this school for three more years, so they will get to care for and see the tree grow over time. Children grow with the tree. Planting food-baring plants with children teaches kids about ecology, it gives them a hands on experience with nature and a tactile understanding of plant growth and care. A tree growing is this school courtyard will provide benefits in the future too: shade for classes to sit outside and in several years, fresh fruit for snacks. Can’t you picture a world where kids go outside to the school yard to harvest their treats?

The first event of this project was our tree planting ceremony on April 20th at La Casa in Urbana. We ordered fifteen trees from St. Lawrence Nursery. Their trees are grown in upstate New York, cold-hearty and came to us still dormant.

We started with a brief project introduction followed by a demonstration planting. Next we broke into small groups, dug, and planted an assortment of fruit and nut trees along the edge of our property.  Following the planting we celebrated our hard work with small ceremonies around the new tree sites. This “celebration ceremony” included a torches parade, songs of dedication and much love and laughter to welcome the new trees home.

The ideal time to plant trees is when they are still in dormancy, so our spring planting are complete but come fall once leaves are a fallin’ we will be planting some more. If you are interested in hosting a planting or similar event at your home, school or work place please contact us.