We gather throughout the year. We learn about earthly things, such as soil and compost and drought-resistant trees. We discover ways to responsibly water thirsty trees in the middle of a severe drought. We harvest fruit from our neighbors' yards and prepare the bounty in an open-air environment. We pass our knowledge on to the next generation. We learn. We plant. We teach. Together.
Several times a year, on Saturday mornings, we come together to learn. We discuss Hollywood Orchard projects in development and plan the next steps. We brainstorm new ideas for future projects. We bring in experts to lead demonstrations on environmental and agricultural topics, such as building grey water systems, pruning techniques, composting basics, and the varieties of drought-resistant trees that would thrive in our neighborhood. We drink coffee and chat under Los Angeles' bright blue sky and feel lucky that we're part of the community.
As with many communities in America, the Beachwood Canyon neighborhood has an incredible variety of fruit trees growing in front and back yards. We've created a Virtual Orchard of trees that have been donated by our generous neighbors, and we organize harvests throughout the year. We process/preserve a portion of the fruit we pick and donate the remaining fruit to local food-charity organizations. We're talking tons here.
Several times a year, our community harvests fruit from our Virtual Orchard, which is then brought to our open-air, pop-up kitchen. Most of the fruit is washed and boxed for donation. We partner with local chefs and master food preservers to prepare the remaining fruit and turn them into products that are sold to support the Hollywood Orchard. From tree to table in just a few hours.
Because most of what we harvest is citrus, our growing season is January through May. We want to encourage fruits that ripen in late summer and fall in order to cultivate a year round harvest, while respecting our current climate and the city's water restrictions. We've partnered with Orchard Supply Hardware and Papaya Tree Nursery to expand our Virtual Orchard with drought-resistant trees. This program, two years in existence, has brought more than 50 new trees into our neighborhood. We've asked neighbors to volunteer a plot of land on their property and serve as a host to a new variety of tree. We plant the tree and assist with its maintenance and when it's time to harvest, we split the gleanings with the homeowner. Persimmons, Pomegranates, Figs, Pakistani Mulberries, and Pineapple Guava now grow in our canyon.
How do we get the work done? We divide and conquer! Our Trees & Soils Crew tends to the health of our trees, while the Kitchen & Harvest Crew focuses on the fruit they bear. Nearly every event we host gives our members an opportunity to get their hands dirty. You can plant new trees one weekend and juice lemons another.
A cornerstone of our focus is engaging with the community by teaching techniques on sustainable agriculture and food preservation. We've expanded our educational programs to include events to serve as outreach and education for the neighborhood schools and greater Los Angeles community. We recently teamed up with Cheremoya Elementary School and lead a classroom of sixth graders on an environmental adventure through the hills of Beachwood Canyon. The students identified fruit trees in the neighborhood, learned the science of flavor, identified spices, planted two trees, drew pictures, and picked their own grapefruits. All in one exhausting, fun day.
Interested in joining the Hollywood Orchard? Donate a fruit tree, volunteer to host a new tree, attend the next Farmers' Circle, or volunteer for an upcoming field trip. Do as much or as little as you want. Sign up for emails and we'll keep you informed of our season's schedule.