Spreading the green has a whole new meaning in part of Southern California. That’s because the Incredible Edible Community Garden (IECG) and CAL FIRE are using a $615,000 grant to plant shade trees throughout communities in south San Bernardino County.
Abigail Srader is the CAL FIRE Urban Forester on the project.
“My desire was to see more Urban Forestry for my area,” Srader says. “I’ve seen many try, and most of the time it was a “plant a tree and go” situation where they would plant a tree and leave it without working with the community to maintain it.”
The “Neighborhood Grow” project is planting 850 drought-tolerant shade trees and 150 fruit trees in and around disadvantaged communities in the area. Those trees will sequester at least 1,630 tons of GHGs over the next 40 years. And all those fruit trees will provide a source of fresh produce for the area.
With funding from California Climate Investments, Abigail Srader finally has the right partners.
“The reason IECG has been so successful is, they spend time in the communities, and find out what they want and need, instead of just handing them a tree,” she says. “They have given jobs to people without jobs and without homes, who are currently working for them with this project.”
Through Neighborhood Grow, IECG is providing job training in urban planting and maintenance for at least 20 people from disadvantaged communities in the area. By carrying out this project, the communities involved will be better prepared for climate change (reduction of urban heat island effect), carbon will be stored in the trees, the community will have better places to rest and play on hot days, and air quality will be improved.
Throughout the project, Abigail is providing technical assistance, education, and advocacy for the project with local leaders to see that the project follows the best practices and is successful long term, but also helps to build appreciation for this kind of work and maintenance in the communities where the trees are planted.