An Orchard in the Offing?

By Geoffrey Howard
There’s so much stuff out there on the Net – wacky stuff, boring stuff, ridiculous stuff, terrifying stuff – but every once in a while you stumble onto something really good in a kind of retro, Norman Rockwell sort of way.

It turns out there’s a group called the Fruit Tree Planting Foundation whose mission is to promote – you’ll never guess – the planting of fruit trees around the country. Well, the good people at the FTPF have teamed up with some other good people at the Dreyer’s Foundation – they’re the ones behind Dreyer’s Fruit Bars and Edy’s Ice Cream – to sponsor a competition that will result in 20 fruit tree orchards being awarded to 20 communities around the country.

And as prizes go, this one has a lot of bells and whistles. On the big day, they’ll pull up in the winning towns with their trucks, and on those trucks will be locally-sourced, four to six-foot trees, planting equipment, the planting crew, the film crew, and a whole lot of fruit bars and ice cream.

The only catch is it’s not automatic. A community project has to apply, have its application accepted, and then compete for votes with the 130 other projects whose applications were also accepted. And that’s where Warwick’s at right now, competing with the likes of the Make Miracles Grow Foundation in Chicago, the Friends of Edgewood Park in New Haven, Hale Hoola Hamakua in Hawaii, Vel’s Purple Oasis Garden in Cleveland and many more.

Currently, the Warwick Community Center site is running eighth in the national voting, putting it in a strong position for one of the 20 awards. So if all goes well, sometime this fall – five winners are announced at the ends of May, June, July and August and the plantings are in September or October – a bunch of trucks will arrive at the Community Center with 48 trees (pears, Asian pears, pawpaws, peaches, and plums) and the community will gather for a genuine fruit fest – music, families, neighbors, food, and a film crew that can turn the day into a Norman Rockwell video.

Even if the final chapter isn’t yet written, this is the story of a lot of good people getting involved and voting for something positive provided in the name of a good cause. It’s the kind of story we could use more of these days.

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Voting is easy. And you can do it every day. Here’s how:
–Go to
–Register (first time only – very simple; after that you log in).
–Click on “Plant.”
–Click on “List by State.”
–Scroll down to Warwick, N.Y.
–Click on “Vote.”
–Vote once a day, every day.

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Geoffrey Howard is a retired management consultant. In earlier work, as a Peace Corps volunteer, he helped start a village garden in West Africa. He can be reached at


One Response to “An Orchard in the Offing?”

  1. Anita Says:

    I’ll keep voting because I would love to see those trees in Warwick. Thank you for all your hard work on this project, Geoffrey.

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