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Plant a Giving Orchard















We are grateful for the generosity of Mt Diablo Unitarian Universalist Church and its members for hosting this giving orchard. It is because of their vision and dedication to social justice that generations of our brothers and sisters in need will have access to fresh, healthy fruit.

Our first job is to build the orchard and we need your help. We invite all members of the community to join. Please note there is limited room at the orchard site. We have organized 4 work sessions (three hours per session) for building the orchard. As long as there is room to register you are welcome to join.

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What is a giving orchard?

It’s an orchard built by the community where all the fruit from the orchard will be donated to those in need.

Who can come to help build the orchard?

Almost everyone! Groups and individuals are welcome to join and volunteer. Children must be at least 8 years old and accompanied by a parent/guardian.

Where is the orchard site?

This giving orchard is hosted at Mt. Diablo Unitarian Universalist Church located at 55 Eckley Lane Walnut Creek, CA 94596. Please be sure to register to volunteer.

When are the work sessions?

Please click here to visit our events page and register to volunteer. For groups of 10 or more please call (925) 297-5525

How can I register?

Please click here to visit our events page and register to volunteer. For groups of 10 or more please call (925) 297-5525

How does this project work?

This is a partnership between Mt. Diablo Unitarian Universalist Church, its members, the community, The Urban Farmers and White Pony Express.

The church has generously provided the use of their land and the water. The members of the church have purchased the trees and the supplies necessary to build the orchard. Community members will help build and maintain the orchard. The Urban Farmers provide support for the development of the orchard.  The Urban Farmers’ volunteers will help maintain the trees and harvest the food for the hungry. White Pony Express volunteers deliver the fruit to where it’s needed.

Why build an orchard?

The short answer is because it’s good for the planet, good for the people and is a highly leveraged, sustainable way of helping people in need. See boxes below for more details.

Good for the Needy

People who need the food would rather have fresh fruit than canned or boxed food (don’t you). Besides, we know fresh organic fruit is health restoring.

Good for the Environment

One of the amazing things that trees do is remove carbon from the atmosphere and sequester it into the trees’ structure and the soil. 60 to 70% of the weight of a fruit tree is carbon sequestered from the air. Besides, fruit trees improve the soil, and enhance the beauty of the place.

Good for the Donors

Donors who want to help the poor want their money to work hard and go far. Here is a simple example. Let’s say you want to donate $100 to feed the poor. Consider these options:

Buy Canned Food – You can buy non-organic cans of soup on sale for about $1.50 per can. Your $100 donation will buy 67 cans of soup. Assuming that a person can get by with 3 cans of soup per day (really?) then your donation of $100 will feed 22 people for one day.

Plant a Fruit Tree – Figure it will cost you $100 to buy then plant an apple tree in a giving orchard (or your backyard.) Here are some facts and assumptions. An apple tree will live 50 to 75 years and a mature tree can produce several hundred pounds of fruit per year. For now, let’s assume our apple tree will produce just 100 lbs of fruit per year. Over its 50 year life span, this tree will produce 5,000 pounds of fruit. We know that in order to feed a person 3 square meals a day, a farmer has to grow 5 pounds of food. This means the 5,000 lbs yield from the tree will feed 1,000 people for a day. How would you rather invest $100 for the poor? Feed 22 people for a day or feed 1,000 people for a day?

Footnote: This only works when giving orchards are powered by a community of justice minded people. The labor to build the orchard, to maintain the trees, to harvest and deliver the fruit is an act of love and the considerable cost of these resources are not included. However, we are lucky to live in a community where a lot of people are willing to donate a few hours of their time so people who cannot help themselves can live a little easier.

Watch Videos

Here are some videos of how we built the giving orchard at The Athenian School last year.

Meet the orchard builders at The Athenian

Turning idle land into scared grounds