Changes to the City Fruit team…

Some updates to our team…

Things are looking pretty quiet in the orchards these days but make no mistake, our city’s magnificent fruit trees are ready to embark on yet another cycle of life that will take them through amazing transformations throughout the year. Just like the trees in the orchards, there are some changes brewing in the City Fruit office and we want to share our latest news with you.

Luke Jesperson, City Fruit’s beloved Harvest Manager is leaving his full-time position in March. BUT, do not fret, after taking some time off he’ll be back on a part-time basis in June, and he will be working with tree owners again to provide tree care services. Keep reading for an exciting update and employment opportunity, as we re-envision the work of a new Harvest Manager.

Barb Burrill, City Fruit’s longtime Orchard Manager is now our Tree Care Manager. She will be working to provide more dedicated support to tree owners, sharing her expertise in pest prevention and other tree care needs, to improve the health of Seattle’s fruit trees.

And, lastly…you probably know Natalie Place, our Programs and Education Senior Manager from the volunteer work parties, Master Fruit Tree Steward program, and Harvest Crews, among other things (really, what doesn’t she do??). Natalie will continue to run all these programs, but will be shifting their design to provide deeper support to Seattle’s public orchards.

We asked them to tell us more about their new roles and vision for City Fruit’s future in their own words.


Luke Jesperson

2018 saw the end of City Fruit’s first full decade as an organization. With 2019 beginning the second, we are starting on a very exciting 5 year plan which sees us diving deeper into every Seattle neighborhood to more authentically address the unique needs and opportunities of each community in addressing healthy food access and our collective relationship to Seattle’s urban orchard. 2019 also sees me moving in to a new stage of my life. I am going to be taking a sabbatical this spring to travel and then begin the process of returning to university for post-grad studies.

I could write pages and pages of memories about the tens of thousands of pounds of fruit I’ve picked and the thousands of backyard growers I’ve had the pleasure of meeting and chatting with, but in the interest of space, I’ll just say that my position as Harvest Manager has meant the world to me. The amazing people I’ve met and the unique lens through which I view our beautiful and complicated city are appreciations that I will forever keep. Also, I’m not even leaving so what am I even talking about!? When I return from my travels, I will be lending a hand when helpful to the new Harvest and Outreach Manager, pruning trees through our Tree Care Services, and living out my dream of scouting the urban orchard from the comfort of my bike. I am so excited for the next 5 years (and beyond!) of what City Fruit has in store and I look forward to being a part of it in a new way. Thanks again for the support you have all shown us over the years. Oh! And while we’re here, if you know of anyone looking for an incredible job, we’re beginning the process of hiring for the new Harvest and Outreach Manager position!

All the best!


You can still book a pruning service with Luke through February! Fill out a request form HERE.

Click HERE to view the Community Engagement & Harvest Manager job posting.


Natalie PlacePrograms and Education, Senior Manager

Hello volunteers, stewards and supporters! I’m excited to continue organizing volunteers to create deeper connections to our city’s orchards and fruit trees. I’ve enjoyed both working and learning from all of you and I’m looking forward to finding more ways to get community members like you involved in this work in 2019.  As always email me with your comments, questions, and fruit tree enthusiasm!

Natalie will be leading a Pizza & Pruning Orchard Party at the Jose Rizal Park on February 23. Sign up for a shift HERE.


Barb Burrill, Tree Care Manager

In my new job as Tree Care Manager I’m moving from caring for trees in Seattle’s public orchards to working with you and your fruit trees at home. I’ve worked with successful organic pest control in the orchards, first with baggies and then the past four years with tree netting. I can help you grow pest damage-free fruit on your trees, too.

The orchards contribute less than 20% of City Fruit’s total harvest; the rest comes from your trees at home. City Fruit’s main mission is to harvest fruit that would otherwise go to waste – but no one wants to eat wormy fruit. My goal is to get that home-grown fruit to be perfect.

I’ll be using City Fruit newsletters, the web site, and community workshops to teach you how to grow the best possible fruit. You’ll learn about the insect pests we see around the city, and what you need to do to keep them out of your fruit. Don’t even think about cutting down your fruit tree, you can graft something better to it. So many possibilities! Are you with me?

And if somehow you don’t find the information you need, feel free to email me with your fruit tree care questions:

Barb has a busy schedule over the next few weeks. You can find her at the next Pizza & Pruning Orchard Party this Saturday at Danny Woo Community Garden, and she also has a few workshops scheduled: Grow Fruit in Urban Spaces (hosted by Tilth Alliance) on February 9 and Pruning Fruit Treesworkshop at City People’s Garden Store. Also look for her tree owner newsletter starting next month!

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