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The Math of Fruit Trees

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The Math of Fruit Trees

In ancient cultures, fruit trees, no matter whose property they grow on, are considered an important communal resource to be shared by all.

In America, we have lost touch with this time tested solution to hunger. Instead of growing local fruit, we import it from exotic places with a huge impact on our wallet and the environment.

In order to understand the power of a fruit tree as a solution for feeding the hungry, let’s start with the facts.

Facts – Apple Tree
It costs around $35 to buy a bare root apple tree.

In California, it costs between $5 to $20 per year to maintain a backyard fruit tree.

It takes about 5 years for an apple tree to mature and start producing fruit in volume.

A mature apple tree will yield 150 to 300 pounds of fruit per year.

Finally, an apple tree lives between 50  and 75 years.

The Math of Fruit Trees
Now let’s do some math. During its 45 productive years, the tree will produce a minimum of 6,750 pounds of fruit.

For an initial cost of $35 and a maintenance cost of $20 per year at most, you can donate 6,750 pounds of fresh fruit to the needy at an average cost of 15 cents per pound.

Finally, consider this. A farmer has to grow 5 pounds of fresh food to feed a person for a day. Five pounds sounds like a lot of food but, this includes the non-edible portions of the food such as the skin of an orange or the seed of a peach.

Using the 5 pounds per person per day ratio, your apple tree will feed 1,350 people for a day, at a cost of 75 cents per person.

Are you surprised? This post is short and the math is simple, but what a single fruit tree can do is just impressive.

About The Author

Siamack Sioshansi

Siamack is the executive director and co-founder of the project. He was born in a small village in southeast Iran where he learned about food and the importance of community resiliency. He attended Purdue University and worked for IBM and Apple Computers before starting a software company. He lives in San Francisco.

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