Community Philosphy Blog and Library

The Boston Tree Party

Our incredibly industrious and creative friend Lisa Gross has a new project that we think is just the coolest. Lisa founded the Urban Homesteaders League and held skillshares under her Market Stand tent at a local farmers market last summer.

Here’s more about the Boston Tree Party:

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“The Boston Tree Party is a collaborative campaign to plant 100 pairs of heirloom apple trees in publicly used spaces across Greater Boston. The tree plantings will take place in partnership with a diverse range of institutions, organizations, businesses, and communities.

As an urban agriculture project, the campaign will create vital gathering places, build community connections, and improve community health. As a conceptual art project, the Boston Tree Party engages with metaphor and symbolism, and playfully reimagines patriotic and political language, imagery, and forms of association.

Like the Boston Tea Party, the Boston Tree Party is a symbolic political act. The project takes a stand for universal access to fresh, healthy food; for greening our cities; cleaning our air and waterways; reducing our city’s carbon footprint; creating habitat for urban wildlife; and for protecting the biodiversity and heritage of our food. Collectively, the 200 apple trees will become a decentralized public urban orchard that crosses social, economic, political, and geographic boundaries.

The apple has a long and deep connection to the history of Boston. The first apple orchard in the American Colonies was planted by William Blackstone on Beacon Hill in 1623. The oldest variety of apple in the United States, the Roxbury Russet, was developed in Roxbury in the 1630s. The Boston Tree Party will celebrate and recontextualize this history and make Boston a city of apples once again.

Participating Tree Party Delegations (e.g. schools, hospitals, universities, faith communities, businesses, non-profit organizations, and other community groups) will each receive a Tree Party Kit that will allow them to design and create their own festive Tree Planting Parties. Each community will be asked to make a contribution of $300 to the Party (the materials cost of the kit). Funding assistance will be available, but we ask that each community make a minimum contribution of $50. The planting campaign will kickoff on April 10th on the Rose Kennedy Greenway with the Boston Tree Party Inauguration—a rally, parade, and celebratory planting of the first pair of trees, and it will culminate on May 14th at the Old South Meeting House with the Boston Tree Party Convention—an opportunity for participants to celebrate the project, form new connections, and get inspired.

The Apple Corps, a Youth Corps developed in partnership with YouthBuild Boston, will be trained in organic fruit tree care and horticulture and will act as an “extension service” for participating Delegations. The Apple Alliance (a partnership between the Boston Natural Areas Network, City Sprouts, Groundwork Somerville, and the Northeast Organic Farming Association/Mass) will offer free and low-cost organic fruit tree workshops all over the city.

The goal of the Boston Tree Party is to catalyze a movement—a movement that works across boundaries to make healthy, fresh food accessible to all; a movement to green our cities; a movement that plants fruit trees in public spaces all over the country; and a movement that comes together to care for these trees and the well-being of all citizens.

We have many phenomenal partners in this endeavor. Please check out the list below.

“Civic Fruit” is our motto. We call for fruit trees in civic spaces, and we promote the fruits of civic engagement!

There are many exciting ways to participate in and support the project:

  • Spearhead the formation of a Tree Planting Delegation at your place of work, faith community, school, or neighborhood! (For this spring we’re focused on the Greater Boston Area, but there is some discussion of a National Tree Party…stay tuned.)
  • Volunteer! We need lots of help in lots of ways!
  • Join us at the Inauguration and/or Convention!
  • Follow the project on the blog.
  • Become a fan on Facebook.
  • Follow us on Twitter.
  • Help us spread the word to your friends and colleagues!”

Here’s more from Boston.com on the project.

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