Our Strategic Goals: Justice, Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion

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1) Strategic Goals 2) Defining our language

The Greater Seattle Area supports a vast network of public and private orchards, gardening patches, and green spaces.  However, various socioeconomic factors can make it challenging for some members of our community to safely and consistently access the resources and health benefits that these spaces provide.  


At City Fruit, we believe that nutritious, affordable, and culturally relevant food should be accessible to all.  As a food justice organization, we believe in advocating for socially just and environmentally sustainable food production, food distribution, and land stewardship.  Supporting the development of local community-led food systems can help to alleviate the harm that industrial agriculture can place on farm workers, rural communities, and the environment.

To guide our work alongside our long-term strategic goals, City Fruit uses the J.E.D.I. framework of Justice, Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion.


Seattle’s history is an indigenous one.  Justice in our food system means returning traditional lands to the leadership of indigenous nations whenever possible.  It also involves supporting historically marginalized communities in leading and participating in our food system.


– Grow the number of community trees and community-led orchards in the Greater Seattle Area.  

– Develop and promote resources that prepare neighbors and organizations for planting fruit trees in urban spaces.

– Uplift and support ancestral growing practices in community gardens and orchards. 


Nutritious and culturally relevant foods should be accessible to all members of our community.  Community members should also have the ability to participate in the planning, growing, and distribution processes of our food system.


– Share education on fruit tree care and Integrated Pest Management to support healthy and productive trees. 

– Ensure education programs are equitably represented in all Seattle communities.

– Increase access to fruit by growing the number of Fruit-for-All pop-ups and community partners receiving fruit. 

– Ensure that fruit is being distributed equitably to all food bank partners across the city.

– Develop new strategies for processing and preserving fruit to redirect fruit from waste and provide culturally relevant food products.  

– Create pathways for neighbors and community partners to decide for themselves how the fruit is shared and used.


Seattle is a diverse city, including but not limited to diversity of ethnic and racial background, spiritual and religious practices, physical and cognitive ability, and gender identity.  An awareness of and commitment to supporting diverse perspectives and viewpoints is a critical goal of our work. 


– Strive to have the diversity of Seattle’s communities is represented in City Fruit’s core team and leadership, as well as in our volunteer and membership programs.

– Build mutually beneficial and sustainable partnerships with neighborhood groups that are present in the Seattle communities we work in.

– Expand our current educational resources and curricula so that they reflect the diversity of experiences and knowledges of our community members. 


To fully support the diversity of people and perspectives within our city, it is important to develop practices that fully and enthusiastically welcome and empower community members.  We strive to develop partnerships, communication pathways, and programs that align with this goal.


– Diversify curricula and educational opportunities to align with the needs, interests, and goals of community members.

– Support local organizations and community groups working to alleviate food insecurity by providing access to healthy, nutritious food and/or providing education and resources to the public.

– Support community partners by seeking funding and resources to further their work.

– Follow Community-Centric Fundraising principles in our grant and fundraising work.

– Improve accessibility of our website, fliers, and educational resources for community members who are hearing- or vision-impaired and/or community members who are non-native English speakers. 

We welcome any feedback on how City Fruit can continue to grow and adapt our work to best fit Seattle’s communities.  Please reach out by contacting [email protected] 

Defining our language

What is ‘gleaning’?

The USDA defines gleaning as “simply the act of collecting excess fresh foods from farms, gardens, farmers markets, grocers, restaurants, state/county fairs, or any other source in order to provide it to those in need.”  Gleaning not only diverts excess quality food from waste, but it can also help us see where there are gaps in support for how our food is being distributed.  To learn more, visit the website for the National Gleaning Project!

What is a ‘food system’?

The term ‘food system’ is used to describe the pathway that our food takes to get to us — this includes initial planning, planting, growing, harvesting, packaging, shipping and distribution, and purchase and consumption.  Depending on the scale of the food system, the number of steps in the process can be smaller or larger.  At City Fruit, we advocate for supporting our local food systems whenever possible — by buying from and supporting local growers, we can eliminate waste that comes from packaging and shipping foods from far away, prioritize growing practices that protect the earth, and empower the workers that harvest, raise, and catch our food. 

What is ‘sustainable’?

City Fruit uses the term ‘sustainable’ when describing  goals for how food is grown and distributed within our food system.   A sustainable food system is one that strives to eliminate resource waste and environmental damage, but also one that empowers and supports food producers and consumers. 

What is ‘organic’?

USDA certified organic foods “are grown and processed according to federal guidelines addressing, among many factors, soil quality, animal raising practices, pest and weed control, and use of additives.  Organic producers rely on natural substances and physical, mechanical, or biologically based farming methods to the fullest extent possible” (USDA, 2022).  It is important to note that many farmers (particularly small-scale growers) practice organic farming, but do not have the resources to apply for the USDA organic label.  Ask your local farmers about their growing practices and support your local food system!  All Seattle public orchard fruit trees are managed using an organic tree care regiment. 

What is ‘local’?

In the context of City Fruit’s harvest, all fruit is harvested from residential and public orchard fruit trees within the Greater Seattle Area.  When distributing fruit, we aim to donate fruit to food banks and meal programs located within 5-miles of where the fruit was harvested.  City Fruit partners with local businesses like cideries and bakeries as fruit diversion partners — these businesses are all located within the Greater Seattle Area. 

What is ‘food justice’?

The food justice movement recognizes that nutritious, affordable, and culturally-appropriate food should be accessible for all communities.  It encourages us to envision land ownership, food production, and food distribution processes that are more socially just and environmentally sustainable.

What is ‘food sovereignty’?

The term ‘food sovereignty’ was originally coined in 1996 by members of the Via Campesina.  It is a movement born from farmers, landless and migrant farm workers, fishers, and Indigenous peoples.  It asserts that the people that produce, distribute, and consume food should exercise control over the planning, decision-making, and execution of agricultural practices, rather than large corporations and markets.  Like the food justice movement, food sovereignty believes that healthy, affordable, and culturally-appropriate food should be accessible for all communities, and that communities should have a hand in how local food systems are run.  To learn more about the food sovereignty movement, please visit the webpage for the U.S. Food Sovereignty Alliance. 

What is ‘food apartheid’?

Originally coined by food activist and urban farmer, Karen Washington, ‘food apartheid’ is an alternative to the term ‘food desert.’ The term food desert has long been used to describe neighborhoods (anywhere along the urban-rural spectrum) where people do not have access to fresh, affordable, healthy foods.  However, Karen Washington pushes for use of the term food apartheid in order to highlight how income, race, and geography are factors that influence a person’s ability to access these foods.  Additionally, for some, the term ‘desert’ can bring to mind barren, empty landscapes — the term food apartheid pushes back against that idea, highlighting the ‘people power’ that exists within communities fighting for food justice.  For more information, listen to this 2021 Lehman College interview with Karen Washington.

What is ‘permaculture’?  What is ‘ancestral farming’?

Originally coined by Bill Mollison and David Holmgren, ‘permaculture’ refers to a style and philosophy of agriculture that strives to work with, rather than against, nature.  It aims to connect people, land, resources, and the environment together so that growing and food sharing practices are sustainable.  However, it is important to note that the term ‘permaculture’ was developed in 1978.   The knowledges and philosophies that define permaculture have Indigenous foundations and often continue to be utilized without proper recognition of this origin.  We encourage people to use the Indigenous names for different growing practices whenever known.  Another suggestion is to use the terms ‘ancestral farming’ or ‘regenerative agriculture’ instead of permaculture. To learn more about the Black and Indigenous agricultural practices that inspire many of our gardening strategies today, listen to this keynote address by Soul Fire Farms’ Leah Penniman.

Want to learn more about our food systems?  Please check out the videos, podcasts, and articles on our Food Systems Resource page!  

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