Volunteers turn out to replant orchard wrecked by vandals

e-Connections Post Pacific
Principal Garcia with Good Day Sacramento's Cambi Brown and students

With the help of volunteers and community donations, a school orchard destroyed by vandals was replanted on Saturday.

Fourteen young fruit-bearing trees were destroyed at Pacific Elementary School on November 15. Vandals ripped off branches and pulled trees from the ground, dragging some across campus. The orchard was only about a year old, installed in the fall of 2014 by the group Common Visions in partnership with The California Endowment, Soil Born Farms and SCUSD.

“The destruction of our garden was devastating to our students,” said Principal Oscar Garcia. “The kids had tended the trees, watched them grow and were looking forward to eating fresh fruit. And then overnight, it was gone.”

Discouraged but undaunted, students rallied to plant new trees and created a GoFundMe campaign with the hashtag #YouCan’tStopUsFromGrowing. The effort netted about $2,885 in donations used to purchase new trees. Volunteers planted the trees on Saturday, built a butterfly habitat and picked citrus from older neighborhood trees, among other school beautification projects.

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 low maintenance. Together with Pacific’s school garden, the replanted orchard will serve as an outdoor classroom where students can learn about such topics as botany and environmental sustainability.