A different kind of Victory Garden

Victory Orchards sprout in hard-hit, low-income California communities.

It's one of those "California" ideas. Instead of growing just vegetables in community gardens, why not include fruit, too?

That's exactly what a group called the Fruit Tree Tour is doing -- planting "Victory Orchards" in as many of the Golden State's low-income communities as possible.

Over five years, the activists of commonvision.org  have donated several thousand fruit trees, trying to have several community plantings in each city they visit.

This year, traveling in buses converted to run on 100 percent recycled vegetable oil, they'll be taking 1,000 bare-root fruit trees along on their 3,000-mile journey to 30 California cities including Los Angeles, San Francisco, and points beyond.

They choose neighborhoods where there are few fresh-food outlets and a large percentage of the young people rely on state-funded meal programs.

Using a puppet show for kids, they also preach a message of  lessening dependence on fossil fuels. A TV program about this eco-educational program won two Emmys.

You can follow the group on Facebook, Twitter, and Flickr. And see a video on You Tube. I really liked the Flickr photos because you got such a good sense of what's happening and how -- and everyone really seems to be happy about it all.

When so many people hard-hit in the recession, it's nice to know that some people are thinking creatively about improving the diets of those who can least afford to buy fresh fruits and vegetables for themselves.

(Note: We invite you to visit the main page of the Monitor’s gardening site , where you can find many articles, essays, and blog posts on various garden topics.)

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