The Giving Grove began in 2013 as a grassroots effort to make free, fresh fruits, nuts, and berries available to Kansas City neighborhoods with high rates of food insecurity. The program was launched with the understanding that an orchard must be community-led and community-driven. At the neighborhood’s request, The Giving Grove helps provide the trees, supplies, and training necessary to grow a fruitful orchard.
Within a few years, The Giving Grove helped install more than 100 orchards in neighborhoods throughout Kansas City that have faced decades of environmental and health inequities, creating beautiful community spaces that each produce hundreds of pounds of free, fresh produce for the neighborhood. After finding success with The Giving Grove program in Kansas City, its founders began expanding the program across the nation in 2019.
Today, more than 400 of these little orchards, managed and maintained by more than 700 volunteer orchard stewards, are in ten cities across the U.S, with dozens of new orchards added each year. These neighborhood orchards have thousands of fruit trees that will:
- Produce more than 64.5 million servings of free, healthy food over their lifetimes (which can be up to 50 years or more)
- Sequester 1,000 tons of carbon
- Absorb about 177,632 gallons of water per storm, reducing urban flooding and soil erosion
- Lower urban air temperatures during the summer, reducing risks of heat-related illness
- Improve soil biology through holistic orcharding techniques that avoid artificial pesticides and fertilizers, which is healthier for the earth and the people eating the fruit.
Watch Ashley Williamson share the background and vision of the Giving Grove. Then visit the ClimateGKC Channel for more partner interviews, podcasts and learning videos.