First Look: 300 Free Fruit Trees Planted for San Fernando

If there’s one thing Angelenos can agree on, it’s that we have a special place in our hearts for fruit trees.

From classic citrus, savory stone fruit, or (the millennial favorite) avocado, our city is blessed to have these trees thrive and bloom all year long. So it’s no surprise that there was no shortage of excitement from eager residents during our latest free Fruit Tree Distribution at San Fernando’s Pacoima Wash Natural Park earlier this month.

LA’s Northeast San Fernando Valley is a “food desert”– or an area where a high percentage of households have limited access to grocery stores with healthy, nutritious foods. Knowing this, TreePeople has strived to fight this inequity, focusing our Distributions in communities lacking the cooling shade of trees and access to produce, like San Fernando.

Enthusiasm filled the brisk morning air as Pam Gibson, TreePeople’s Regional Manager of the Northeast Valley, led a team of dedicated volunteers. Fueled by a breakfast generously provided by MEND and Pam’s contagious laugh, the work started bright and early at 6:30 am. But before the attendees arrived, 300 trees had to be loaded up, pruned, watered and have exposed roots wrapped ahead of their placement in yards across San Fernando.  

Anxious residents lined up to choose their new fruit. Each family could take two trees home and could pick from: orange, lime, lemon, apple, tangerine, plum or peach trees. To set the trees up for a long, happy life, we hosted free mini-workshops throughout the day on how to properly plant and care for both their new citrus and/or bare-root trees. And thanks to our bilingual volunteers, we were able to offer workshops in both English and Spanish.

The event was also joined by our partners from the City including San Fernando’s Mayor, Sylvia Ballin, City Manager, Alex Meyerhoff and Civil Engineering Assistant, Patsy Orozco. Beaming, they were thrilled to see their community take steps to create a better future.

What’s better? All 300 fruit trees found new yards to call home! Every tree came with a green tag in loving memory of our generous donor, Judith R. Nelson’s, dear friend, Dr. Vernon C. Bohr, who had a special place in his heart for trees. The morning would not have been possible if it wasn’t for her!

With 300 new fruit trees already in the ground within the first month of 2018, we cannot wait to see what other events the rest of the year brings.

Did you miss out on the fun and want a fruit tree of your own? Make sure to keep checking our events calendar for our next distribution event!

By Caitlin Dunham

After graduating from Cal Poly San Luis Obispo with a degree in Forestry and Natural Resource Management, Caitlin discovered a passion for working in social media and marketing and eventually found her way to TreePeople. With her unique forestry and marketing background, Caitlin is now growing and thriving within TreePeople’s Yurt Village. She loves that she can bridge the gap between science and marketing and is at the frontlines of educating Angelenos on trees and how they can save LA.