Recently, in partnership with Healthy Day Partners, we launched the Healthy Communities Fruit Tree Program and celebrated our first program recipient with a tree planting day. A handful of our volunteers and staff from Healthy Day Partners planted 20 citrus trees at the Tijuana River Valley Community Garden, which is managed by the Resource Conservation District of San Diego County.
Currently, school and community gardens are eligible to apply for the program. If approved, gardens would each receive at least 10 fruit trees -- as well as a $1,500 microgrant -- to support the planting and care of the fruit trees. The Healthy Communities Fruit Tree Program was designed to address climate change by sequestering carbon, helping to alleviate food insecurity, and improving air, water and soil quality in San Diego’s opportunity zones.
“Healthy Day Partners is committed to helping people grow healthy food locally to support personal health, and the health of the planet," said Mim Michelove, Executive Director of Healthy Day Partners. “When communities plant fruit trees, the benefits grow beyond increase property value and curb appeal to provide nourishing food that improves health and quality of life for residents, now and in the future. It’s an honor to partner with SDG&E on the Healthy Communities Fruit Tree Program, and to share the belief that everyone deserves a healthy day.”
COVID-19 and the associated economic impacts have highlighted the inequities facing San Diegans when it comes to access to fresh, healthy food. Communities with high rates of pre-existing conditions such as diabetes and heart disease are also communities that have seen higher case rates of COVID-19. For this reason, our partnership has collectively chosen the first round of program recipients in South County, areas disproportionately impacted by COVID-19. Fruit trees at community gardens will be planted in areas that are accessible to the public, ensuring that the bounty is available to the public. At schools, the fruit tree bounty will be available for students and their families.
The Healthy Communities Fruit Tree Program addresses one element of our recently announced Sustainability Strategy. As part of our overarching commitment to building better communities and supporting the region’s climate action plans, we have committed to planting 10,000 trees annually. This builds upon our existing charitable partnerships that support tree planting, tree stewardship and tree maintenance best practices.
Healthy Day Partners is currently accepting applications from school and community gardens which would like to participate in the program. Interested applicants can visit the Healthy Day Partners website to get more information and apply.