The Fruit Tree Project

2023 Grant Amount: $2,500

Over the past few years, Lund's Early Childhood Education Program, with assistance from staff and parents and helped by previous Seedling Grant funds, created a garden space that teaches preschool-aged children about gardening and the local food movement. The garden is comprised of eight raised beds, an outdoor classroom area, and two water barrels. In this space, students don't just learn about planting, weeding, watering, and harvesting vegetables. They also learn about the importance, and more importantly the possibility, of incorporating locally sourced food into their daily diets. Students witness the plants being started from seed and growing into harvestable food. Food from our gardens is used in cooking classes and to supplement our lunch/snack program. 

The Fruit Tree Project will extend Lund’s existing school garden. It will educate preschoolers about local fruit - how it is grown, harvested, consumed, and processed. Lund will purchase and plant the trees in the spring of 2024. They will engage with local resources like Shelburne Farms, the Burlington Tree Project, and the UVM Horticulture Farm for technical advice and to help the children learn how the fruit trees will contribute to our garden ecosystem (which also includes a pollinator garden). While the harvest from the trees themselves may be limited in the first year of the project, Lund anticipates being able to use the fall harvest season to teach the children about fruit and nutrition. The overall goal is for children and families to understand where their food comes from, how to grow food, and how to integrate local produce into healthy meals. In addition, Lund’s cooks will utilize the fruit for meals and snacks throughout the day and help to decrease the program’s food costs. The importance of nutrition and its links to overall physical and mental health are myriad.

The goals for this project are: 

  1. To teach children about how local fruit is grown and how it fits into the ecosystem of our existing garden
  2. To plant and care for five fruit trees (apple, pear, and peach) with active participation from the children
  3. To harvest healthy fruit for children to eat during childcare and for families to eat at home
  4. To teach children and families where their food comes from, how to grow their own food, and how to incorporate healthy food into their diets for better nutrition.