Posts Tagged ‘Gail Savina’


City Fruit Honors Two Volunteers

On Friday, May 30,photo City Fruit celebrated founder Gail Savina on her last day as executive director.  In honor of her work and dedication to the urban harvest, the City Fruit board of directors created the Gail Savina Award for Outstanding Service.

This award recognizes distinguished individuals who have dedicated their time and energy to help City Fruit grow and prosper. Like Ms. Savina, awardees have made substantial contributions of their time and unique talents, and have a passion for the urban fruit harvest.  The award is given at the discretion of the City Fruit board of directors, when an individual’s contributions warrant such recognition.

The inaugural awards went to long-time City Fruit volunteers and employees: David Beeman, who is responsible for developing and maintaining City Fruit’s IT systems and database, and Tabitha Borchardt, who created the look and feel of everything you see with the City Fruit logo and name, including this website.

Congratulations to our awardees! Look for two upcoming posts on Dave and Tabitha, to learn more about their work with City Fruit!


Orchard Stewards Attend Fruit Tree Biology Class

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City Fruit’s Executive Director, Gail Savina, teaches new orchard stewards about fruit tree biology.

What is a branch collar? Where does the scion meet the rootstock? Last Saturday morning, representatives from 9 different urban orchards learned the answers to those questions and more at Fruit Tree Biology class at Bradner Gardens Park.

City Fruit director, Gail Savina, explained the parts of a tree and how to select varieties to grow in maritime climates during class. Bradner was the perfect location for applying the knowledge we learned immediately as we examined the compartmentalization, or the sealing off of a wound, and growth structure of an old apple tree. We also learned how to identify where first-year growth ended and new growth started which is important to know when trying to figure out where to prune; some fruit trees produce fruit on older branches while others will produce on new.


Most class attendees were new stewards with City Fruit’s urban orchard stewardship program. City Fruit stewards commit to working at an orchard for two years and attending four work parties per year. In return, City Fruit provides free trainings, Fruit Tree Biology being the first of three core classes. Interested in becoming a steward? Click here to find out more information.


Interested in learning more about fruit tree biology and general fruit tree care? Check out City Fruit’s online resource page for factsheets, book recommendations, and helpful harvest tips.

By Amanda Lee

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Footies on fruit tree in the Bradner Garden Park







mid-August report

1. Congrats to Gail Savina and Ingela Wanerstrand who did a good job answering questions on KUOW this past week. Being live ain’t always easy to do, but they fielded questions nicely.

2. Remember to water. Especially newly planted trees and berries, shrubs or trees in containers. The heat will dry things out. Water.

3. Someday if you are up in the Mt. Vernon area you might drop by and look at the trees and berry bushes at the Mt. Vernon research center. On Saturday, August 18th, several speakers will be there as well talking on fruit-related subjects. I have mentioned the Master Gardeners, the Answer Line, Seattle tilth in previous blogs. The Mt. Vernon Research Center is just one more resource to help the backyard gardener.



Burke-Gilman Stewards Put Footies on Trees

We talk a lot about ways to help prevent and manage pests and diseases on fruit trees. Afterall, the fewer pests & diseases, the healthier the tree, and, as a result, the better the fruit.

In addition to encouraging and educating home owners to take care of their own trees, the Fruit Tree Stewards have done a great job making sure that trees within parks and other urban orchards are protected. One example of that is the Burke-Gilman Fruit Tree Stewards (did you know fruit trees were along the Burke-Gilman trail?) — they’ve been super active caring for the fruit trees along the trail and most recently applied a bunch of bags on the low-hanging fruit on some trees. And using some footies City Fruit is supplying, they’re in the process of finishing off the trees by adding additional footies to the fruit higher up.

Their work is turning these previously neglected trees into productive, healthy trees that produce tasty, beautiful fruit.

Interested in learning more about how to apply footies or bags to your fruit trees to help keep pests away? Check out this video from our resident fruit tree expert, Don Ricks. As you can see it’s super simple.


Thank you!

We had an amazing evening last night at Santoro’s books. Thanks to everyone who attended and made it a great event!

We had a packed house.

Cookbook author and founder of Amy Pennington signed her books and told the crowd how much she supports City Fruit’s mission.

Sydney Pawlak, who works at the Greenwood Food Bank, spoke about how important our fruit donations are. She said that visitors to the food bank, who now include 4,000 people, are already asking about when the fresh fruit will become available.

Gail Savina, City Fruit founder and director, welcomed everyone.

Many people signed up to become members, made donations and bought books. Your contributions put us on the way to reaching our targets so that we’re able to harvest 10,000 pounds of fruit or more this year, donating the bulk to hungry people in our community. We couldn’t do it without your support. Thank you!


Gleaning Event this Friday

Gleaning is the collection, transportation and distribution of unharvested food to people in need.  While many people associate the word biblical times, what City Fruit does is, of course, modern-day gleaning.

If you’re interested in exploring gleaning more, and finding out what you can do to help, and the best ways to do it, check out this cool, free event:

Gleaning Get Together
Friday, January 28 10:30 to 3:00
Beacon Hill Library, Seattle

Meet other people interested and involved in gleaning, share stories and best practices, attend workshops about how to improve or start your own harvesting project to benefit food banks and much more!

This event is free and open to the public.
Please RSVP: [email protected] or 206-686-1486

Our very own Gail Savina will be on the panel discussion, along with many other people who are doing great work to help feed people in need.


Fruit Tree Stewards Off & Running

We just got these photos from one of our new fruit tree stewards as part of a project we’re running in partnership with the City of Seattle’s Office of Sustainability and Seattle Parks & Recreation. I’ve written about it before and you can learn more here.

These particular photos are from the fruit trees along the Burke-Gilman trail — have you seen them? This group, led by Barb Burrill (she also provided the photos), is taking care of them — they even got some fairly worm-free apples!

So far the project is going great. A big thanks to Gail Savina, Jana Dilley, and Becca Fong for making this project happen.

Check out the photos below.

A big apple tree along the Burke-Gilman.

The volunteer work party. Thanks for all your hard work! The sign looks great.

One of our Fruit Tree Steward’s son lending a hand.


Selling Fruit: Becoming Financially Sustainable

One of the main reasons we started City Fruit was to develop ways  to become more financially sustainable, rather than depend on an ever-shrinking pool of grant money for funding

As part of that, we’re experimenting with selling a small portion of the fruit we harvest – with a goal of selling no more than 20% of the usable fruit we harvest. So far this year, we’ve harvested 5,775 lbs. of fruit and have sold 448 lbs., so about 8%.

We always talk to home owners before selling fruit from their trees, explaining that the sale of this fruit goes directly to funding the neighborhood fruit harvests next year. We aim to be as transparent as possible and so will again release an annual report early  next year detailing how much we earned from fruit sales and how much it costs to organize our harvests.


We’re specifically targeting restaurants that have a reputation for caring about and seeing the value of using local foods as much as possible.  A couple of the places we’ve been selling to are A Caprice Kitchen and Kathy Casey. A Caprice Kitchen is even Tweeting about how they’re using our fruit:

“Be sure not to miss asian pear caramel pancakes at brunch this weekend, made with ballard pears from @cityfruit !”

And Kathy Casey featured us in her late summer newsletter, writing:

“Right now it’s Jam Time! It’s that time of year again when summer fruits are in abundance (despite this crazy weather!). We’ve been hooking up with City Fruit, a cool non-profit organization that gathers excess fruits from neighborhood yards then delivers them to food banks and restaurants. We love supporting them and are donning our sexy hairnets to cook up lots of great tasty treasures, which we will feature at Kathy Casey Food Studios annual open house this December … yes, we are thinking ahead!”

A few other ways in which the restaurants we’re selling to are putting our local fruit to good use:

  • Crab apple butter
  • Apple pies
  • Escarole with Asian pears
  • Red plum tarts

So far it’s been very exciting to see how the restaurants are using the fruit. They seem to really like the quality and variety of our local fruit and the customers seem to enjoy the food as well.

Farmer’s Markets

In addition to helping fund our harvests, one of the goals of selling fruit was to serve people who are low-income but don’t go to food banks or soup kitchens. In many places throughout the city, this population doesn’t have access to low-cost, healthy, local fruit.

Seattle Green Market FarmersTo help address this, a portion of our fruit is sold to the New Holly Farm Stand and to the Clean Green Market. We sell fruit to each at a much reduced price so that they can then offer this local fruit to their customers at an affordable price.

New Holly Farm Stand is part of the Seattle Market Gardens program and most of the farmers are immigrants from South East Asia and East Africa. It’s a relatively new farmers market and operates every Wednesday from 4-7 p.m. It’s at the corner of South Holly Park Drive and 40th Avenue South.

Clean Green Market was founded by Rev. Robert Jeffery (who along with City Fruit Executive Director, Gail Savina, was listed as one of Seattle Weekly’s Best of 2010), in an attempt to “supply fresh, wholesome produce to families in need in Seattle’s Central District.” The market is open from 10 a.m. – 6 p.m. on Fridays & Saturdays at the corner of 21st and Fir Street.

We hope that these efforts to sell a small portion of fruit, as well as our membership program, classes, and donations, will help us reduce our dependence on grants and increase our financial independence.

We’ll keep you posted on how this experiment goes.



Best of Seattle 2010: Gail Savina, Fruit Savior

We try not to toot our own horn too much here on the blog, but I had to share that our fearless leader, Gail Savina, was identified as one of Seattle Weekly’s Best of Seattle 2010 — Best Fruit Savior. For all the work Gail’s done, including her work with City Fruit. From the article:

“After talking to Savina, your own view of Seattle may change. Adjust your gaze, even slightly, and you begin to see the “urban orchard” Savina describes, fruit trees rising from the landscape: plums, apples, pears, cherries, figs, quince. City Fruit’s work strengthens communities now, but in a town that was once home to many farms and orchards, it also paints a lovely, almost ghostly, portrait of Seattle’s past. “

The Seattle Weekly had a special section of their Best of… series with a section they called The City of Angels — highlighting people and organizations that are giving back tot he city, trying to make it a better place. So we’re very honored to have Gail among that list.

There were also two other food-related Angels that are worth checking out — Bunly Yun and Reverend Robert Jeffery. Each of them are doing great work to help provide more healthy food to people.


Changes at City Fruit

Courtesy of Mission: SustainableCity Fruit has grown tremendously since we started working in late 2008. We conducted a fruit harvest in Phinney and donated 5,000 pounds of fruit, experimented with selling fruit as a way to raise money, implemented a membership program, held many classes on subjects ranging from canning to espalier, launched a Web site, and many other activities.

So far, the work behind those accomplishments has been done by volunteers. As we at City Fruit plan to take on even more work in the coming year, we are beginning to grow beyond a volunteer-only organization. To that end, we’re very happy to announce that Gail Savina, who hatched the idea behind City Fruit, will be transitioning in to an Executive Director role. This means, of course, that she’s stepping down from the board of directors, but it means that we can ideally begin to pay her for all the work she does, and will continue to do, for City Fruit.

Gail plans to be as involved as ever! We believe that having a paid director will only help City Fruit continue its mission of helping tree owners grow healthy fruit, harvest and use what they can, and share what they don’t need long into the future.


Check out this interview!

Jessica Johnson of Mission: Sustainable did a great interview with Gail Savina on the ins and outs of City Fruit…where we came from, where we’re at, and where we hope to go. Even if you know all about us, it’s great to read such a good interview and renew your enthusiasm!