Master Fruit Tree Steward (MFTS)

(Image description: stewards gathered around a tree)

Calling all fruit tree enthusiasts!  If you love fruit trees and want to be able to better care for fruit trees in your own backyard, at a neighbor’s house, or in public orchards to help preserve Seattle’s urban fruit canopy, then this program is for you!  Master Fruit Tree Steward (MFTS) classes prepare community members to grow, cultivate and care for fruit trees in the greater Seattle community. The program is open to students of all ages, perspectives, and abilities. 

Recruitment for the 2024 MFTS Cohort has closed.  

If you are interested in learning more about the program, or would like to be notified when the 2025 cohort application is available this fall, please email Tiare at tiare@cityfruit.org.

Program Overview 

The program consists of a total of 7 hands-on workshops that combine both classroom and urban orchard experiences to gain skills in orchard planning, young sapling care and training, and mature fruit tree maintenance. To give participants exposure and experience with the full range of yearly tree care, the program runs every second Saturday of the month from February through October (with breaks in May and August). In order to build on program knowledge and teach content that is timely with the seasons, the sessions run as follows: 

• 02/10/24 – Fruit tree anatomy & grafting workshop

• 03/09/24 – Fruit tree anatomy continued & winter pruning

• 04/13/24 – Orchard design and companion planting

• No session in May

• 06/08/24 – Integrated Pest Management (IPM)

07/13/24 – Summer pruning

• No session in August

• 09/14/24 – Fruit diversion processing culinary workshop

• 10/12/24 – Fall harvest field day

Please note: Dates may shift as needed to respond to extreme weather. Sessions generally run from 10-12 pm (4 hours) on Saturday mornings. All sessions are held in the Greater Seattle Area, with the exception of a session at NW Fruit in Mt. Vernon. 

Cost and Requirements 

Cost for the program is $400. Program cost includes educational materials, membership to NW Fruit Society, and City Fruit t-shirt.  Pending funding, we hope to offer a number of need-based scholarships to alleviate barriers to entry such as child-care and public transportation costs. Please indicate in the application whether you would like to be notified when scholarship funding becomes available. 

 

Students may not miss more than two of seven program sessions in order to graduate from the program. Notice and reason for absence must be communicated with the program manager in advance.  Students must also be able to complete between 1-3 hours of readings, videos, observations, and/or assignments in between program sessions.

(Image description: stewards gathered in a garden space, smiling at the camera.)
(Image description: four stewards working on netting a tree in a parking lot median.)
(Image description: capture of stewards walking away into an orchard against a cloudy sky.)
(Image description: volunteer holding a large tree branch in a clearing surrounded by trees.)
(Image description: volunteers in a neighborhood alleyway, posing with recently pruned branches.)
(Image description: a group of volunteers posing with filled apple crates in front of a City Fruit vehicle.)