There is a phenomena in Newtown known as 'the walkers', in which young students travel by foot every day after school towards the center of town. Here, they consume delicious, manufactured food, become pardoned from shops, and gather in the hot parking-lot pavement. They entertain themselves with electronic gadgets and enjoy lovely interactions with local police. They hold up traffic, pursue their mates, and generally rascal-about before finally finding their way home....
The walkers is a rather innocent, nostalgic element to many kids' experience. However, the reality is that there could be far more nurturing and nourishing outlets for students' natural desire to gather as one and play.
The fruit trail is a response to the walkers, offering an incredibly holistic landscape for students of all ages to collect in a natural setting, surrounded by trees, safe from the road, in a landscape that boosts their curiosity with enriching material and actives.
Imagine plant signs, fruit guides, weekly workshops, interactive programming and enticing structures. Let's allow our students to pick up gardening habits instead of tobacco. Let's facilitate foraging hobbies, nature awareness, and inter-generational contact to soften the confusion of modern life. Let's create a space that allows our kids to grow into the caring, capable, courageous leaders that this world so desperately needs.
The fruit trail is a living scene from a more sustainable future in which social and environmental health are measured as one. It is a space to feel safe among community, and to know that there is always a place to go when one feels ready to play, or perhaps when feeling weary or solemn or in need of quiet care. It is a space that heals the very land on which its grown, and it's always a place to eat free fruit!