Youth Service Corps Fruit Tree Project
Youth Service Corps (YSC), a job and life skills training program for youth aged 11-17, focuses on food access projects in the Eastside neighborhood of Lansing, MI. Current projects include: 1) Garden-in-a-Box, where youth build and distribute free 2’X 2’ garden kits to neighbors as an introduction to gardening; 2) Edible Park, where youth plan, plant, and maintain fruiting trees, bushes, and perennial herbs in a designated space in Hunter Park where edibles are free for the taking; and 3) Park Cart, a concession cart selling healthy, low-cost snacks to Hunter Park visitors. Our newest project, The Fruit Tree Project, builds on the successes of each of these projects, and will allow for a greater impact in the health and sustainability of our community.
The Fruit Tree Project enables YSC members to learn fruit tree identification, planting, sustainable maintenance practices, mapping, and safe food handling. Mapping neighborhood fruit trees will require the assistance of neighbors. Youth will raise awareness of the project as they deliver flyers, write a press release, and create an online tool where neighbors can map their fruit trees. Our goal is to map at least 40 fruit trees this year.
Youth program staff will coordinate with neighbors to schedule harvest sessions. Fruit likely to go to waste will be harvested and distributed 1) through Allen Neighborhood Center’s weekly food pantry, 2) to YSC members to create a value-added food product to be sold at the Park Cart, and 3) to neighbors who own the fruit tree. Our goal this year is to harvest and distribute 100 pounds of fruit.
To expand the selection of neighborhood fruit trees, youth will distribute 10 fruit trees to Eastside neighbors. YSC members will work with neighbors in the placement of their fruit tree, and train them in proper maintenance strategies.
KGI is a nonprofit community of over 30,000 people who are growing some of our own food and helping others to do the same.
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Kitchen Gardeners International
3 Powderhorn Drive,
Scarborough, ME, 04074, USA