So, as I'm just about to leave after visiting Fred Conradat the Atlanta Community Food Bank the other day, where he gave me free seeds for five gardens growing for those in need , he says to me, "I have something else for you." Something else?
I turn and he points to a big bucket filled with nine 5-foot bare-root fruit trees and two potted muscadine vines. He tells me they are for our food pantry garden, if we want them. They are from the Georgia Organics /Atlanta Local Food Initiative fruit tree sale from two weeks earlier at the annual Georgia Organics conference, sales of which benefited the major metro food bank which supplies hundreds of food pantries (including ours), and where Fred serves as a liaison and resource for community gardens . I'm blown away--fruit tree yields are an enormous benefit to those in need (we harvest one mature tree in my city each year and donate about 600 pounds of pears-- see here ), and I am an advocate for more urban fruit trees in general.
As you know, when Fred asks, I say yes , so that's exactly what I did. I then add that, if, for some reason, the food pantry garden location doesn't work out, I'll find a good home for them at a garden growing for those in need. So we load them into the back of my trusty Prius (which, as we've learned here on FoodShed Planet over the last couple of years, can hold 500 pounds of cow manure, four bales of wheat straw, one 6-foot Christmas tree, two bikes, and now, an orchard, plus it can operate as a "cold frame" and grow crops in the sun-exposed hatchback). When I get home (after a Scayman Winesap apple tree branch stabbing me the whole way), I call Kathy Hall, who co-leads the food pantry,and tell her, "Um, yeah, I kind of have an orchard in my car for you." She says," What???" I repeat it. We laugh. These things--the sudden appearance of something special, happen often. We therefore have come to believe whole-heartedly in the Paradigm of Abundance , and we tend to embrace it, or at least trust where it is going to take us on our journey.
So, I get going with the watercolors to put some semblance of a plan on paper (which, frankly, we already "visualized" as a group during the winter). She runs it up the flagpole at the church and gets a fast and enthusiastic two-thumbs-up. We arrange for the utilities to be marked. I get detailed advice* from metro-Atlanta tree expert Robby Astrove (who was the one who started the fruit tree sale three years ago, which is where I got my pomegranate trees , and who is teaching a fruit tree this morning at a very cool place, my visit to which years ago inspired this post , complete with emu picture). I request a pile of free wood chips from my favorite tree pruning company. And I start thinking about pick axes , as in, needing them next Wednesday so we can plant with the food pantry clients. And so, off we go, to our next stage of growth.Thank you, Fred, Robby, Kathy, James, Leigh, Mary Louise, and everyone else involved. This will be fun (and fun matters ). As for you, wherever you may be on our FoodShed Planet, remember that the world is conspiring in your favor. Stay open to its gifts.
* I will save the exciting, colorful, and easy details of planting, as
advised from Robby, until we do it (hopefully Wednesday), but just to
tease you, it involves things like putting something on a pedestal and
"fanning" something. We may need to wear Cleopatra clothes and peel