The Fruit Tree Planting Foundation (309237)

As I made my way through the Jefferson Gardens on 2nd avenue, I heard someone say, “We’ve got a beautiful day for planting, and once we plant trees together we are friends for life.” The self-declared “TreeEO” and co-creator of The Fruit Tree Planting Foundation, Cem Akin, was welcoming the group of volunteers to the final planting of the calendar year.

This event was made possible by the collaboration between Vitafusion Fruit Tree Project and Concrete Safaris. The day began with the ceremonial planting of a pear tree at the entrance of the garden followed by a detailed demonstration and tutorial on how to properly plant a tree. Volunteers worked in teams to dig the holes, release the young trees from the containers in which they were grown, plant them, and cover the planted trees with protective mulch.

Once the hard work was complete, the trees are now left in the hands of participants of the Concrete Safari, ages 7 through 24, who will care for the garden and its crops throughout the year; by next summer, Jefferson Gardens will have its first crop of blueberries and blackberries.

So how does a vitamin company end up planting trees? I caught up with Michael Vercelletto, the marketing director of Vitafusion Gummy Vitamins. He said, “It’s simple. We believe in delicious nutrition for all, and we get involved where there is a disparity for access to delicious nutrition.”

While it will take two to three years for the apple and pear trees to bear fruit, these trees will feed the neighborhood every June to October for generations to come. It looks like my years of heading up to the Hudson Valley for apple and berry picking will soon be a thing of the past.

Join me for a virtual cooking session on Thursday, Oct. 14 at 6:30 p.m. to celebrate the American Culinary Federations Childhood Nutrition Day. Register for free at