Helping kids branch out: Pacific Elementary gets an orchard

e-Connections Post Pacific
Common Vision staff paints with students

Despite rain that threatened to dampen the day, an orchard was planted at Pacific Elementary School last week — trees that will produce both fresh snacks and hands-on science lessons for students.

Teams of educators with Common Vision’s California School Orchard Project rolled into Pacific on Thursday, September 25, on a veggie-powered bus carrying 12 fruit trees.

In addition to planting the trees, the team worked with students to help them understand the importance of sustainability and healthy eating.

“Fresh fruit is a gateway food,” says Michael Flynn, education director for Common Vision. “Kids who get turned on to eating fresh fruit at an early age are more likely to form the healthy eating habits essential for thriving in the urban food deserts commonplace throughout California.”

In addition to providing fresh snacks, fruit trees bring stability to a school garden. While traditional school gardens require a fair amount of day-to-day maintenance, fruit tree orchards are a low maintenance addition or substitute for school gardens. 

The Pacific Elementary School project is also in partnership with The California Endowment and Soil Born Farms, which has worked with Sacramento City Unified School District to install gardens on campuses throughout the city. At Pacific, Soil Born Farms has agreed to maintain the fruit trees and work with Harvest Sacramento to pick clean the trees by the time summer break comes around.