In 2014, Worcester Tree Initiative (WTI) assisted the City of Worcester to extend the availability of fruit trees to immigrant farmers in Worcester in a community setting, and provide them with tools, training, and general support including interpretive services. WTI worked closely with Lutheran Social Services (now Ascentria Care Alliance) and Worcester Common Ground to identify an appropriate parcel of land for planting fruit trees, identify farmers to cultivate and harvest the fruit and provide community wide educational workshops on how to cultivate fruit/nut trees in an urban setting.

Worcester Tree Initiative leveraged their experience with planting trees, caring for and maintaining trees to begin the transformation of a blighted empty lot at 7-9 Jaques Avenue into the successful Eat Center that it is today. Nineteen fruit trees were planted along the perimeter of the lot. Residents from the surrounding community, mostly Bhutanese farmers, helped plant the trees and continue to care for them today. WTI provided tree planting and establishment care training to all residents, in their native language.

WTI still provides educational workshops on fruit tree pruning and tree care at this site. We have pruned the trees three times since 2014, to ensure the health and longevity of these trees. We monitor the health of the trees and keep records on their growth and vigor. This year, our community fruit tree pruning workshop, held on Tuesday, April 7, will be held in this thriving community garden. Details can be found on Tower Hill Botanic Garden’s website. CEU credits are offered for this program and these details can be found on the website.