City Fruit harvests and stewards urban fruit trees to support sustainable and equitable access to fruit. We help tree owners grow healthy fruit, provide assistance in harvesting and preserving fruit, promote the sharing of extra fruit with neighbors, and work to protect public fruit trees. None of this work would be possible without the immense support of tree owners and volunteers, or without the partnership from community food banks, pantries, and meal programs. Additionally, we would like to express gratitude to the many orchardists that invite us to work alongside them in Seattle’s public orchards.
In particular, we would like to highlight three of our newest orchard partners: City Soil Farm in Renton, New Start (Shark) Community Garden in Burien, and Kirke Park Community Garden in Ballard. All three community-led groups initially reached out to City Fruit for support with tree care, and the partnerships have since expanded to include education and outreach opportunities.
City Soil Farm
“City Soil Farm is a 1.5 acre demonstration farm located at the King County Wastewater Treatment Plant in Renton. It was once an unused area of the treatment plant’s grounds. It has been transformed into a teaching farm and native tree nursery that showcases sustainable farming and accessible, local food. The farm is managed in partnership between King County Wastewater Treatment Division, King Conservation District, DIRTCorps, and White Center Food Bank” (King County, 2022). City Soil strives to be a community gathering and learning place where individuals can explore sustainable, salvage-based building and growing strategies. Learn more about their mission and their use of recycled water and Loop® biosolids compost.
The orchard is home to 20 apple trees, 13 plum trees, and 4 figs, which are maintained by volunteers organized by the City Soil Farm team, with seasonal support from City Fruit for pruning and harvest. Just last year, City Soil Farm and City Fruit harvested and shared several hundred pounds of plums! We also jointly hosted a free, hands-on pruning workshop that was open to all — regardless of previous pruning experience.
We’d love to have you join us! Our next volunteer session at City Soil Farm is on July 19th for a plum harvest — sign up here.
New Start Community Garden – a.k.a The Shark Garden
“The Shark Garden was founded in the spring of 2015 by volunteers and the Community Advisory Board for New Start High School. New Start is a Highline District magnet school for at risk teens. The garden was originally set up to support the program Youth Works, which gives students an entry into the work force, skills training, as well as the opportunity for credit recovery. In the summer of 2015, nearly 30 high school students began construction on the garden, using almost entirely donated materials. The small budget available went to buying enriched garden soil for the new beds. The students built a shed, compost bins, beds, and paths and then planted them with donated fruit trees, vegetables, and flowers. By the season’s end the garden had produced enough vegetables to donate over 100 pounds of food to the White Center Food Bank. With the help of tireless volunteers, donors, and summer program staff, the garden sprang to life” (New Start Garden, 2022).
Since 2015, the community garden has continued to grow by leaps and bounds! Now a 501c3 non-profit, the garden hosts community P-Patch plots and, with grant support, has continued development of the garden and its volunteer & youth education programs. Although the New Start – City Fruit partnership is new to last year, Taryn and the garden team hosted our 2022 cohort of Master Fruit Tree Stewards for a tour of the garden and shared stories of how the garden design process came together. We’ve since hosted several free pruning workshops for New Start gardeners and community members, and we look forward to inviting participants of our Urban Fruit Guardian program to learn and support the work at the garden this summer!
Kirke Park Community Garden
Our relationship with the team at Kirke Park Community Garden is the newest of our public orchard partnerships! The park is located on the east side of 9th Ave NW between NW 70th and 73rd, and was established 10 years ago by the city. According to community park stewards, Ann and Becky, the Friends of Kirke Park group is active and coordinate regular work parties along with the adjoining P-Patch members to look after the greenspace. Ann mentioned that four apple trees were planted by the city when the park was first created, and that while the trees were regularly pruned by a devoted P-Patch volunteer, that volunteer has since moved away and the trees had not been pruned for 2 years. With help from Ann, Becky, and the Kirke Park community, City Fruit and a group from Salesforce were able to do some initial pruning of the apple, plum, and fig trees at the garden this past month! We look forward to continuing our partnership with a follow-up pruning in early February of next year!
It is amazing just how many fruit trees exist in public greenspaces, right-of-ways, parks, and gardens in Seattle! City Fruit is still learning about new public orchards and fruit tree clusters in and around the city. Please reach out to [email protected] if you need support with fruit trees in your neighborhood!