2012: Apple Tree Interfaith Year!

Art by Erik Baard

Season’s Greetings,
All Ye New  York  City
Dear Friends, Supporters and especially Volunteers,
Thank you for being so kind, encouraging and helpful to my work, especially the Newtown Pippin Restoration and Celebration. As a volunteer relying on other volunteers, I can truly call this a labor of love. An archaic meaning for pippin worth reviving is “an admirable person.” Just as a pippin apple is cherished as a rare lucky strike — a chance seedling that grows to bear gourmet fruit — so should we hold dear the admirable and generous people among us. I’m grateful to have you in my life.
2012 will be the Interfaith Year for the Newtown Pippin Restoration and Celebration. We expect to plant our 1,000nth urban fruit tree! We’ll work with our sponsors and the Interfaith Center of New York to plant heirloom and ancestral apple trees, and sometimes other fruit trees, with the congregations of houses of worship throughout the five boroughs. These trees, many of which will be grown on sacred grounds, will provide food to those in need for generations to come. In this age of worries, may these trees grow in earshot of harmonizing spiritual teachings to reassure us of our world’s natural state of plenty and remind us that our highest ideals are gratitude and generosity.
We also have plenty of additional surprises and fun volunteer opportunities coming up!
2011, our third year, was a year of enormous achievements for this project — in some ways beyond my dreams. Thanks to a new MillionTreesNYC banner sponsorship from New York Restoration Project, we planted hundreds more apple trees with schools, community groups and other partners throughout NYC.
We established an unprecedented public orchard with the Randall’s Island Sports Foundation within walking distance of East Harlem, the South Bronx and western Queens. These 99 trees are a world heritage of fabled heirlooms and 12 varieties of ancestral Malus sieversii apples from the ancient Kazakh forest where the species began (media coverage linked below). For this growing gift, a global first, we’re also grateful to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the Kazakh Mission to the United Nations, the U.S. State Department, Cornell University and Cummins Nursery.
Other sponsors and partners to whom we’re thankful include NYC Department of Parks and Recreation, Zipcar, Green Apple Cleaners, Slow Food NYC, Bloomberg Inc., Renaissance Charter High School for Innovation (East Harlem), I LOVE NY, New York State Department of Agriculture and Markets, Snug Harbor Cultural Center and Botanical Garden, Bronx Green Up, Red Jacket Orchards, Greening Queens Library and Federation Employment and Guidance Services. A special thanks to individual sponsor Nadine Chandy.
I also took groups of Hour Children kids to two orchards (photos liked below).
And with that, I raise a Newtown Pippin to 2011 and eagerly anticipate the fruits of 2012!
Again, thank you!
Warm regards,

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