While it may not be on one plot of land, our orchard is more bountiful than ever. Because, together, we created more than an orchard. We created community.
In 2011, the founders of the Hollywood Orchard realized that the Beachwood Canyon community was in a unique position to serve as the center of an environmental, agricultural, and food-use organization. Sitting just below the Hollywood sign, between Griffith Park and the 101, this neighborhood boasts a large number and variety of fruit trees. From pomegranate to grapefruit to lemon to loquat, these trees are divided among properties and cared for individually. The lucky families feast on their crops year round, making lemonade, lemon cake and limoncello. But who can eat a ton of lemons? And who can reach the fruit at the top of the tree? Fruit that wasn't picked in time falls to the ground and rots. So many fruiting trees and not enough hands to gather the harvest. Is there something we could do to ensure that fresh fruit doesn't go unused? Who in our Los Angeles community could benefit from the harvest? And with the answers to these questions in mind, the Hollywood Orchard was formed and a virtual orchard was created. Members of the community reached out to neighbors and friends with fruit trees on their property, asking them to donate a portion of the fruit from their tree to the Hollywood Orchard. Community-wide picks are scheduled and the neighborhood comes together to harvest fruit from the trees. Some of the fruit is processed and preserved, and the remaining harvest is donated to local food-charity organizations, including A Place Called Home, a South Central Los Angeles Center for at-risk youth. The first year alone, we harvested 5000 lbs. of fruit, donated 4000 lbs., and processed/preserved 1000 lbs. as food items for fundraisers. Today, we have over 100 fruit trees in our virtual orchard. Knowing that the food is not wasted gives us our purpose, but seeing the community gather throughout the year to lend a hand with harvests gives us our heart and soul.