Annual fruit tree sale comes with conference

Cross-pollination between Georgia Organics, ALFI produces fruit-growers’ workshop

There’s probably not a weekend gardener in the world who hasn’t, at one time or another, gazed at a bare corner of the yard or patio and daydreamed of filling it with a fruiting plant. But what would grow there—apples? Blueberries? Grapes? And don’t fruit trees require special care, or something? The dream goes unfulfilled.

This year, a clever scheduling convergence could help you turn wishful thinking into something more … fruitful. The Atlanta Local Food Initiative is holding its annual fruit tree sale DURING the annual Georgia Organics conference—and the two entities are teaming up to offer to a three-hour workshop on growing fruit trees, vines and bushes.

So now you can learn what might grow best in that corner, purchase a variety that has been preselected to thrive in our climate, and walk away with knowledge of how to care for it. And you’ll be supporting a great cause—expanding access to good food to all metro Atlantans—in the process.

The Atlanta Local Food Initiative’s fourth Incredible, Edible, Grow-It-Yourself Fruit Tree, Vine & Berry Bush Sale will be held 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 23 at the Georgia International Convention Center.

As an added bonus, anyone who spends at least $20 at the sale will also get a free pass to view the conference exhibition. “It was a great opportunity for us to partner with Georgia Organics to promote the fruit tree sale among some of the conference attendees as well as give people in Atlanta a ready opportunity to take the training class and take advantage of some of the other conference activities,” says Julie Self, executive director of Atlanta Local Food Initiative, which seeks to build a stronger local food system.

In past year, the sale, which is ALFI’s main fundraiser, has generated up to $18,000 for the organization and disseminated 3,000 plants into the community. This time, organizers hope to raise $25,000 and sell 4,200 plants.

As in years past, you don’t have to wait until the sale to buy your plants. You can order them online right now and pick them up during the sale. If you’d like to attend the fruit tree workshop, which will be held 2 p.m. to 5:30 p.m. on Friday, Feb. 22, you can sign up for that in advance, too. The workshop is $50 for Georgia Organic members and $60 for nonmembers. (The full two-day conference is $225 for members or $285 for nonmembers. Learn more about the Georgia Organics conference here.)