OpenIDEO is an open innovation platform. Join our global community to solve big challenges for social good. Sign Up / Login or Learn more

Fruit For All

Ensure that everyone in Seattle has the opportunity to experience Seattle's orchard by sharing its fruit and connecting to its trees.

Photo of Juan Pena
3 3

Written by

Lead Applicant Organization Name

City Fruit

Lead Applicant Organization Type

  • Small NGO (under 50 employees)

If part of a multi-stakeholder entity (i.e. team), provide the names of other organizations and types of stakeholders collaborating with you.

We have 24 food distribution partners We also partner with Seattle's Park & Recreation department as well as neighborhood groups in the maintenance & harvesting of fruit trees.

Website of Legally Registered Entity

www.cityfruit.org

How long have you / your team been working on this Vision?

  • 1-3 years

Lead Applicant: In what city or town are you located?

Seattle, Washington

Lead Applicant: In what country are you located?

United States of America

Your Selected Place: what’s the name of the Place you’re developing a Vision for?

Seattle, Washington - located in King County

What country is your selected Place located in?

United States of America

Describe your relationship to the place you’ve selected.

Seattle holds special significance to team & board members alike. Several members grew up in the Seattle area. Others, like myself, have come to call Seattle home. I've been living in Seattle for 4 years now and see myself building my life here long-term. I come from a migrant family background. We moved around constantly following farm work. In the surrounding Seattle region, there are similar farm operations as the ones I grew up around. Seattle holds significant meaning for me in terms of the urban food system that exist. It provides a different way of thinking about how we can grow food without the exploitation of people and the environment.

Describe the People and Place: Provide information that would be helpful for an outsider who has never been there and may have no context about this Place to better understand the area.

Seattle may be the only urban environment in the U.S. that can still boast having an extensive network of orchards containing an assortment of heirloom varieties planted by early settlers to the region. - Aubrey Lieberworth, Seattle's Orchard: A Historic Legacy Meets Modern Sustainability

Seattle is known for its mountains, trees, rain, and coffee. Currently, Seattle is the largest growing city in the USA and is undergoing massive changes. Neighborhoods seem to be changing overnight. Many people have been and are currently being displaced from their communities to due rising cost of living. As communities of color leave the city center, they bring their cultures with them. In the International District, you catch the smells of delicious pho & dim-sum. Pass through Rainier Valley and you'll find endless options of Ethiopian cuisine. Or take a stroll through South Park for fresh roasted elotes and tacos. Salmon and fresh fish play an important role for many communities in the area.

Farming plays an important role here. In almost every neighborhood, you'll find a p-patch nearby. Residents are actively involved in tending to the p-patches. Depending on the area you're in, you'll see different types of food being grown. Many immigrant communities are able to grow similar foods that they grew up on thanks in part to Seattle's temperate climate.

For many folks, their biggest hope is to simply continue living in their communities. The city continues growing, often times at the expense of existing residents. Folks are being driven further and further away from necessary resources. Food security is also increasing and having adverse effects on people's health. Condos, expensive stores, and office buildings, are sprouting throughout the city. Although,it is in areas such as Rainier Valley and South Park, that residents are actively pursing community-oriented solutions and setting the example of what the future of our city can look like.

What is the approximate size of your Place, in square kilometers? (New question, not required)

368

What is the estimated population (current 2020) in your Place?

744955

Challenges: Describe the current (2020) and the future (2050) challenges that your food system faces.

Twenty percent of families in King County, including nearly 80,000 children, are food insecure, meaning that they do not know where their next meal will come from. Additionally, half of these families are not eligible for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits (formerly known as food stamps).

Every time City Fruit brings in 3-4 crates of apples, that week 150 kids in the neighborhood get a snack. That’s one fruit tree in the city, one way that somebody can sign up with City Fruit without having to do a lot, and the impact is just enormous in our neighborhood. That’s kind of extraordinary to think about. They’re not eating a bag of potato chips. They’re eating something that you grew yourself.

Miguel Jimenez, Resource Development Coordinator at Rainier Valley Food Bank

Our food system faces the continued loss of green-spaces and the changes being caused by climate change. Additionally, it has become harder and harder to be able to own property where one could grow their own food. The overwhelming response we receive from the tree owners who work with City Fruit is that they don’t want to see the fruit from their trees go to waste. Having City Fruit harvest their fruit also means that it is shared with people in their own community, especially community members who do not have access to healthy, fresh produce. However, there are an estimated 10,000 fruit trees in Seattle. City Fruit only has capacity to work with a fraction of those trees.

Additionally, families that are being displaced from their communities are having to move further away from groceries stores, parks, public transit, etc. 

For those of you following the large-scale development projects encroaching the Chinatown International District and the Public Charge Rule, you know that it is a frightening time to be both poor and an immigrant in this city and in this country. Now more than ever we are fighting for housing, self-reliance, food security, and community stability.  - Lizzy, Interim CDA

Policy changes are needed to address these challenges. We need to petition for affordable housing, better schools, and better transit options to address food insecurities in the city.

Address the Challenges: Describe how your Vision will address the challenges described in the previous question.

City Fruit will address these challenges by becoming a better cog within the Seattle food system network. Urban fruit trees are a valuable community resource, yet often fruit goes unused because people are not sure when to harvest it, how to best use it, or they are put off by damage caused by preventable disease and pests. We are reclaiming the urban orchard, showing people how to harvest what they need, and to share the rest with others. We help tree owners grow healthy fruit, provide assistance in harvesting and preserving fruit, promote the sharing of extra fruit, and work to protect urban fruit trees.

City Fruit will develop a comprehensive map of location and type of fruit trees on private and public land within the city of Seattle.

Grow the orchard canopy in every community by promoting urban-friendly planting strategies that meet the needs of a growing and diversifying city.

Improve the health of Seattle's fruit trees.

Develop creative partnerships to eliminate food waste.

Create pathways for neighbors and community partners to decide for themselves how the fruit is shared and used.

Design for inclusive and diverse community participation in City Fruit's planning and evaluation processes.

Ensure Programming is equitably represented in all Seattle communities

Connect under-served populations to Seattle's land and food systems.

Addressing these challenges will be done through the lens of City Fruit's Core Values:

  • Celebrate the goodness of fruit
  • Champion the urban orchard
  • Build community connection through fruit
  • Open the urban orchard to everyone
  • Innovate through collaboration

High Level Vision: With these challenges addressed, now provide a high level description of how the Place and the lives of its People will be different than they are now.

Food is personal, and food is social. It can be our comfort, a reminder of who we are, and for immigrants, or children of immigrants, food can remind us our home, and where we feel a sense of belonging. - Lizzy, Interim CDA

By 2050, everyone in the city shall be within walking distance of publicly accessible fruit trees. Envision walking to and from work or school and being able to pick a fresh plum or a fresh pear on your way through. There will be over 25 different varieties of fruit trees in the city. More importantly, each neighborhood will have culturally relevant fruit trees that the community can celebrate together. 

Full Vision: How do you describe your Vision for a regenerative and nourishing food future for your Place and People for 2050?

City Fruit started in late 2008 when Gail Savina called together a group of like-minded people who were interested in trying to create something more for Seattle's urban orchard.  City Fruit was founded to find a better approach that manages this incredible resource holistically, focusing on education, stewardship, food policy, and sustainability, in addition to the harvesting and distribution of the fruit. We've come a long way since 2008. We now operate throughout all of Seattle. The next stage involves deepening our connection with communities and increasing access to fresh fruit. City Fruit will also expand efforts that manages Seattle's fruit trees holistically; focusing on education, stewardship, food policy, and sustainability, in addition to the harvesting and distribution of the fruit.

Through partnerships in neighborhoods that don’t have farmers markets or adequate access to fresh produce. You might call these places “food deserts”— but we won’t do that, because that term supports a notion of false scarcity, and these are not communities without skills, knowledge, or resources. These are communities that recognize the abundance in their midst. - Claire, Roar

A good meal is not about efficiency. It's not about cost-calorie benefit analysis. A good meal is more than just it's nutritional value. It's about community. It's about savoring the moment and every bite. A good meal is happiness, comfort and one of the greatest pleasures of life. This is what Neighborhood Cooking aims to provide. We are volunteers and food-lovers who meet once a month to cook restaurant quality meals for 250 of our Seattle neighbors experiencing homelessness or housing insecurity. Each month City Fruit donates fresh local fruit- figs, pears, plums, crab-apples (yes, they can do more than just decorate your sidewalk!)- ensuring more folks get to enjoy a good meal. "  - Hannah, Seattle Neighborhood Cooking Project

We are a year into working on our vision of a Food System that serves everyone. We've done meaningful work with some of our partners. Now we need to continue with our vision that require additional collaboration and planning.

City Fruit plans to have Seattle's fruit tree map is developed. Integrating the map into City Fruits technology systems as well as making the map.

100% of Seattle's communities have publicly accessible fruit trees.

Develop & promote resources that prepare neighbors and organizations for planting fruit trees in urban spaces, such as in planters, patios, planting strips, or on rooftops.

Partner with community organizations, public partners, businesses, to coordinate planting 10 new orchard plots that are publicly available and offer inspiration for creativity using urban space to increase access to food and land.

100% of registered tree owners (thru City Fruit) receive education on implementing holistic pest mitigation strategies and improving the quality of their fruit.

90% of fruit harvested is pest-damage free.

75% of public fruit trees managed by City Fruit are netted (pest-prevention).

Develop creative partnerships to eliminate food waste.

90% of consumable fruit is shared based on community request and design.

Annually, host 4 community design meetings.

100% of communities have City Fruit programming.

75% of education and volunteer program participants represent under-served populations.

Since our founding, we have grown from an initial harvest of 10,000 pounds in 2009 from two neighborhoods to ALL neighborhoods in Seattle plus select communities in South King County, picking a total of over 250,000 pounds of fruit, and teaching hundreds of community members how to care for their trees along the way. There is still much more we can do through collaboration with community partners.

How did you hear about the Food System Vision Prize?

  • Email

3 comments

Join the conversation:

Comment
Photo of Zsofia Pasztor
Team

Hello Juan, We are Farmer Frog in Woodinville. Our vision has some similarities - do you want to connect?

View all comments