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Urban farm in Prince George’s gets donation of fruit trees

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An urban farm in Prince George’s County just got a new addition.

To add to its array of herbs, vegetables and chickens, the two-acre farm recently received a donation of 30 fruit trees.

Edy’s Fruit Bars donated the fruit trees to Eco-City Farms in Edmonston as part of the company’s Communities Take Root program that has planted 1,600 trees around the country since the start of the program three years ago.

Nearly 60 volunteers and members of the community ate barbecue while listening to a live band before rolling up their sleeves and planting plum, apple and pomegranate trees in the 95-degree weather.

“Our hope is to not only beautify these neighborhoods, but to encourage healthy eating and build strong community relationships,” said Kerry Hopkins, Edy’s Fruit Bars brand manager.

The company partnered with a the Fruit Tree Planting Foundation to determine which communities met orchard planting standards and to facilitate the planting process. An online contest allowed voters to select the communities that received the fruit trees. In addition to the contest, the company also picked three communities in urban areas to receive the saplings because of their lack of access to fresh fruit. Eco-City Farms was one.

“We support their work in serving as an educational, not-for-profit enterprise designed to serve as a prototype for sustainable local farming,” Hopkins said.

Eco-City Farms offers a 10-month class through Prince George’s Community College teaching students composting, how to raise small farm animals and how to market to restaurants.

Farm officials look to sell the fruits when the trees bear fruit in a few years.

Officials added that the addition of recently planted female fruit trees balances the region’s heavily-dominated male tree population, allowing cross pollination and producing fruit.

“It’s really important that we can demonstrate that growing trees in urban settings is possible,” said Margaret Morgan-Hubbard, chief executive of Eco-City Farms. “We’re trying to change the culture everywhere.”

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