Project Pomona

Project Pomona is a community based project designed to help reduce food insecurity in a sustainable way. Project Pomona will use the triple bottom line of sustainability method to address this problem by focusing its core values on people, economics, and the environment.

Project Pomona will attempt to reduce food insecurity in our community by turning vacant land into dwarf apple orchards that will provide free, fresh fruit to established food pantries in our community. The project aims to provide healthy food for vulnerable families in an environmentally safe and cost-effective way. The project seeks to beautify neighborhoods without the negative impacts of gentrification, while raising awareness about food insecurity and nutrition in our community. The project seeks to help offset CO2 pollution as the trees help filter the air that we share. The project will also seek to build rain gardens that help filter storm water before it reaches our rivers and streams

Official Project Pomona Partnerships 

University of Kentucky Agricultural Department (Provides education, soil testing)
Watershed Planning Four Rivers Basin (Provides education about rain gardens)
Family Service Society (Project Pomona will provide fresh fruit for the Family Service Society food pantry for food insecure families)
Paducah Cooperative Ministry (Project Pomona will provide fresh fruit for the Paducah Cooperative Ministry food pantry for food insecure families)

This list continues to grow!

How it works 

Project Pomona will work to transform vacant lots into small dwarf apple orchards that will be used to provide free fresh fruit to food insecure families in our community. With assistance from the University of Kentucky Agricultural Department, Project Pomona has identified specific varieties of dwarf grafted apple trees that are disease resistant to our region.  These trees will help reduce storm water runoff, beautify neglected neighborhoods without the negative impacts of gentrification, and provide a source of healthy nutrition for two of our regions largest food pantries for decades to come. 

What will it cost

Project Pomona estimates that the total cost to transform one .22 acre vacant lot into a dwarf apple orchard will cost close to $11,000. This would help produce more than 2,800 lbs of fresh fruit for food insecure families each year in our community for the next 20 years with a retail value of over $86,000.

How you can help

Project Pomona needs YOU. You can help by donating money, labor, and time.  We need money to purchase trees, fencing, flowers, water, and tools. We need labor to help plant, prune, pick, and care for the trees. Every penny collected from this GoFundMe will be used to advance the development of Project Pomona. If for any unforseen reason Project Pomona is unable to complete these goals, 100% of the funds raised will be donated directly to the food pantries of Family Service Society and Paducah Cooperative Ministry.

Are my donations tax deductible?

Donations through this GoFundMe will NOT be tax deductible.  This is simply a platform for you to give directly. However, if you would like to make a tax deductible contribution please contact me.

Has this ever been done before?

Yes! Other cities have had tremendous success at transforming neglected property into small apple orchards that provide fruit for vulnerable members of the community. We can do it here too, we just need your help!

How long before the trees produce fruit?

Dwarf Apple trees only grow to 6ft tall, and produce much earlier than regular Apple trees. The fruit tastes exactly the same, but each tree requires less space to plant and each tree produces much faster! We can expect to start producing the first fruit by 2021!

Why does it cost so much to plant apple trees?

The trees are only a small part of the cost. We have to make sure we can water the trees (Water bill, drip irrigation system) build fencing and plant flowers to give back to the neighborhoods, fertilize the soil, and provide maintenance and upkeep for the property. 

Can I also plant apple trees and build rain gardens on my own property?

Absolutely! Project Pomona will offer free educational training for anyone interested in incorporating these ideas. We WANT to inspire YOU!

This community has been good to me and believed in me. Our family donates to our local food pantries each month but we want to do more. I will fund this project myself to the absolute best of my ability, but any donation that you can give will help us reach our goals.  No donation is too small.


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Bryant Hileman 
Paducah, KY
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