If community renewal can be spoken of as planting seeds for change, then count the Cudell neighborhood of Cleveland as a change-maker. The community recently won a free orchard from the Edy’s Fruit Bars Communities Take Root program.
On August 30th, dozens of new fruit trees will be planted near W. 85th and Franklin Boulevard on vacant land that was recently home to dilapidated row houses.
According to Jeanette Toms, Special Programs Coordinator with the nonprofit Cudell Improvement Inc., the neighborhood secured the gift after winning enough votes in an online competition to place among the top five entries in the country. Facing stiff competition from entries around the country, Cudell solicited votes from as far away as Florida, Italy and Portugal in order to land the win.
“My dad lives in Florida, so when he came to visit, we asked him to help spread the word among his friends,” says Toms. “You could vote once per day.”
The competition is sponsored by Edy’s Fruit Bars and the Fruit Tree Planting Foundation, an international foundation that is “dedicated to planting fruit-bearing trees in places that best benefit the community — public schools, city parks and low-income neighborhoods,” according to the program’s website.
Cudell Improvement plans to install an irrigation system to ensure the trees are properly watered. In three to five years, when the trees begin bearing fruit, the group plans to give the fruit away to neighborhood residents and food pantries.
Fresh Water Cleveland, 8/11/11