Education is a large part of outreach and brand recognition at City Fruit. Trainings and community courses help raise awareness about the urban fruit tree canopy and can reduce food waste from productive trees. These classes are available to the public and marketed through social media, the City Fruit website and our partners.
Classes are sometimes free to the public depending on sponsorship (like Whole Foods Markets) but usually have a fee between $15-25.
– Every month City Fruit hosts a class at the City People’s Garden Store. Topics are fruit tree related and led by a City Fruit volunteer or tree owner at no cost. Topics are seasonally appropriate and in 2016 included: basic fruit tree biology, garden water management, planning an edible garden, summer and winter pruning, caring for unusual fruit varieties, permaculture, espalier fruit tree pruning, apple cider pressing, gardening for pollinators, and organic pest prevention.
– Promotion of classes can be done through the City Fruit website, social media, the P-Patch listserv and online newsletters. Promoting these classes begins a few weeks in advance.
– City Fruit classes are designed to be fundraisers. Participants pay their admission through the cityfruit.org website. Payment plans are available on a case by case basis. We do not ask for any proof of ability to pay. Participants can also volunteer for City Fruit or complete additional service hours in the orchards in lieu of payment.
– A series of six classes are organized for winter pruning in the months of January-March. At the end of the harvest season, a thank you note is sent out to tree owners who donated their produce along with a survey with a question about their interest in hosting a pruning class during the winter months. The benefits to the tree owner include networking with local tree stewards and pruning their fruit trees at no cost by participants. Tree owners who are interested should be contacted 2-3 months in advance to set a date for a pruning session on their property.
– Promotion starts 6 weeks prior to each of the sessions with a blurb in the monthly newsletter and press releases to local neighborhood blogs (corresponding to the location of each of each class).
– There is consistent social media promotion leading up to the sessions. A blog post with pictures from years previous often increases participation and sign-ups.
– In 2015 and 2016 City Fruit partnered with Seattle Public Utilities to develop classes on waste reduction focused on residential food waste. City Fruit is a natural partner due to its mission of harvesting excess fruit for the benefit of food pantry clients and the local community. The curriculum, developed by both the Harvest VISTA and other staff, incorporates recipes and preservation techniques and is designed for middle-upper income young families. An instructor familiar to City Fruit was recruited to edit and teach the curriculum and add personal experience.
– According to research done by Seattle Public Utilities, the primary shopping location of the target population was Whole Foods Market. City Fruit reached out to Whole Foods and they graciously donated the space and time for the class.
– Promotion included an email to the P-Patch listserv, promotion on social media of both organizations and a printed flyer for local poster boards. Reminder emails were sent two days before the class and thank you notes were sent two days after the class to all attendees.