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California: Green theater troupe plants schoolyard orchards

by Redaktion (comments: 0)

An all-volunteer troupe are bringing a project of their own to low-income public schools hardest hit by the childhood obesity epidemic. They perform and plant orchards that provide fresh fruit in urban food deserts in California, a state where half of all adults are overweight or obese with their kids not far behind. Now in its 7th year, Common Vision’s Emmy Award-winning Fruit Tree Tour is teaming up with national dairy cooperative Organic Valley to bring its green theater to urban kids. In a circus-like program featuring a live band, larger-than-life puppets, and characters like the rhyming farmer, and Wendy Bob, a singing earthworm, bring to life important lessons about healthy food and where it comes from.

Decked out in roof-top solar arrays and powered by used fry oil, the Common Vision caravan visits schools surrounded by some of the state’s worst urban food deserts, where cheap processed food is often the only option for kids who are already battling the buldge. Plantings can range from a few fruit trees to a few hundred, transforming desolate schoolyards into urban orchards that can provide enough fresh fruit for a school’s cafeteria and community. Known as “a bus full of hope” throughout California, the Fruit Tree Tour fleet is today the world’s largest and longest running vegetable-oil powered caravan, and the only one that leaves orchards in its wake.

Organic Valley is America’s largest cooperative of organic farmers and is one of the nation’s leading organic brands. Organized in 1988, it represents 1,652 farmers in 33 states and four Canadian provinces. Focused on its founding mission of saving family farms through organic farming, Organic Valley produces a variety of organic foods,  which are sold in supermarkets, natural foods stores, and food cooperatives nationwide. Common Vision works every day to create real changes in health, hunger, environmental justice, and climate change through inspirational education and on-the-ground community action. Fruit Tree Tour has directly impacted 45,000 students and transformed over 150 low income schools and community centers into abundant orchards with the planting of over 3,500 fruit trees.


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