Keep Knoxville Beautiful (KKB), in partnership with Beardsley Community Farm and the Green Thumb Program, will be hosting a community-wide Urban Orchards Planting on Saturday, Dec. 9 from 9 a.m. until approximately 11:30 a.m.
Volunteers are needed to plant 101 fruit trees in different locations in North, South, East and West Knoxville. Volunteers will meet at Beardsley Community Farm at 1741 Reynolds St. to sign in, learn how to plant fruit trees properly and then disperse with site leaders to various locations to begin planting.
The goal of the Urban Orchards Planting is to beautify Knoxville while providing free fruit to residents. The USDA has identified 15 “food deserts” in Knoxville. Urban food deserts are defined as census tracts where residents must travel at least one mile to find fresh, affordable and healthy food. Sometimes these residents do not have ready access to transportation, so they are left shopping at gas stations and corner stores, or purchasing meals from fast food establishments—none of which provide healthy foods. This lack of access to fresh fruits and vegetables can lead to obesity, diabetes and other poor health outcomes. The goal of the Urban Orchard Project is to address this food access obstacle with a simple, natural and volunteer-powered solution that also doubles as an environmentally-friendly beautification project.
While food deserts are found all over Knoxville, East Knoxville is KKB’s Community of the Year until July 2018, so 70 percent of the fruit trees will be planted there. Locations will receive between two and 15 trees each, and recipients include schools, parks, churches, community gardens and nonprofit organizations. A map showing where to find the fruit trees will be posted on Keep Knoxville Beautiful’s website in January.
The Urban Orchards Planting is free and open to anyone who wants to increase the public’s access to fresh fruit while making Knoxville a greener and more beautiful city. Volunteers must register at http://www.keepknoxvillebeautiful.org/upcoming/2017/11/11/urban-orchards-planting or by visiting the Upcoming Events page on keepknoxvillebeautiful.org.
All supplies and tools will be provided, but volunteers are asked to wear closed toe shoes and comfortable clothes. Breakfast snacks will be provided.
The Urban Orchard Project was made possible thanks to a grant from UPS via Keep America Beautiful.
During 2016-2017, Keep Knoxville Beautiful facilitated or supported 61 litter pickups, collected 55,615 pounds of litter, planted 18,000+ daffodil and tulip bulbs, reached 1,255 kids with the presentations, used the recycling trailer and recycling bins to provide recycling for 10 events, worked with 1,542 volunteers and facilitated 4,108 volunteer hours.
Founded in 1978 to help “clean up” prior to the 1982 World’s Fair, Keep Knoxville Beautiful is a local non-profit with a mission to promote a cleaner, greener and more beautiful community. They pursue this by:
-Educating students and the public about waste-prevention, litter, recycling and environmental stewardship.
-Facilitating and supporting litter pickups that make our roads and local waterways cleaner.
-Creating and protecting murals and hosting beautification mobs to make Knoxville a more beautiful and interesting place to live and visit.

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