Above is an awesome and inspiring talk by Lisa Gross, Chairman and Founder of the innovative Boston Tree Party, which was founded in 2011 and is growing rapidly in popularity and influence. From their website:
“The Boston Tree Party is an urban agriculture project, a performative re-imagining of American political expression, and a participatory public art project. At its core, the Party is a diverse coalition of organizations, institutions, and communities from across the Greater Boston Area coming together in support of Civic Fruit. We call for the planting of fruit trees in civic space and promote the fruits of civic engagement. Each community has committed to planting and caring for a pair of heirloom apple trees. Together, these trees form a decentralized public urban orchard that symbolizes a commitment to the environmental health of our city, the vitality and interconnectedness of our communities, and the wellbeing of the next generation.
As an urban agriculture project, the Boston Tree Party creates vital gathering places and opportunities for learning, exchange, and participation. The project builds community connections, both within and across communities, and improves community and environmental health. As a conceptual art project, the Boston Tree Party catalyzes a deep and playful engagement with the issues of food access; health; environmental stewardship; biodiversity; public space; and civic engagement. The structure and design of the project playfully reimagine patriotic and political language, imagery, and forms of association.
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 celebrates and recontextualizes this history and envisions Boston as a city of apples once again.
Apple trees must be planted in heterogeneous pairs (two different varieties of apples must be planted together) in order to cross-pollinate and bear fruit. The Boston Tree Party takes these trees as inspiration. We too are interdependent and need to work across divisions to effectively address the pressing social and environmental issues we face. We too must cross-pollinate and seek out and value diversity, not just because we need to, but because that’s how you get the sweetest and juiciest fruit.
The planting campaign launched on April 10, 2011 on the Rose Kennedy Greenway with the Boston Tree Party Inauguration–the ceremonial planting of the first pair of apple trees in this city-wide planting campaign. The event also included a celebratory rally featuring Edith Murnane (the Food Tzar of the City of Boston), Michael Phillips and John Bunker (the Official Pomologists), the East Boston Neighborhood Health Center “Let’s Get Moving” Tree Planting Delegation; music by the Second Line Social Aid & Pleasure Society Brass Band; a Wassailing of the trees; free apple cider; Central Asian Barbecue (apples originated in Central Asia); and opportunities to learn more about the project.”