Partners Transform Austin Park into a Food Forest

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Partners Transform Austin Park into a Food Forest

Local residents, Bank of America, TreeFolks and American Forests plant 100 fruit and nut trees in urban edible forest

Austin, Texas (November 10, 2015) — One of the country’s first food forests on public park lands, Austin’s Festival Beach Food Forest received 100 new fruit and nut trees during a recent planting. The project was made possible by American Forests’ flagship urban forestry program, Community ReLeaf, which is funded by the Bank of America Charitable Foundation.

“At Bank of America, we believe that addressing environmental sustainability and hunger aren’t just goals, but responsibilities we have to helping create a healthy and vibrant Austin,” said Nikki Graham, Austin President, Bank of America. “By partnering with American Forests and TreeFolks, together we are helping to provide a more beautiful and diverse landscape for the Festival Beach area as well as increasing access to healthy foods and reducing carbon emissions. The edible food forest will always be special to those of us at Bank of America, and we hope our Austin neighbors enjoy it.”

The project is part of a broader initiative by the City of Austin — a city already among the 10 best urban forest cities in the United States according to American Forests’ “Ten Best Cities for Urban Forests” report — to address food security and increase community access to fresh, healthy foods and green space.

”We are excited to be part of this new era for Austin’s urban forest,” said Scott Steen, American Forests president and CEO. “We are particularly grateful to be working with Bank of America to support efforts to use nature to supply both fresh produce and urban green space to neighborhoods that have frequently had only limited access to both.”

The trees were planted by approximately 100 volunteers from the Austin community and will result in one of Austin’s most groundbreaking measures to nourish, educate and inspire the community.

“TreeFolks is honored to provide the first fruit trees for the Festival Beach Food Forest,” said Thaïs Perkins, Executive Director of TreeFolks.  “The Food Forest volunteers have worked tirelessly for three years to build a place to grow fresh, local produce right here in a City of Austin park.  And finally, today, we’re planting trees together that will nourish the community for decades.  It’s a really exciting day for the Festival Beach community and the whole city.”

As part of this overall Community ReLeaf initiative, there will be a community survey to get input from at least 200 Austin residents. The purpose of the survey is to help the city and its partners understand the opinions, in regard to trees, of residential property owners in Austin. The survey will be a collaborative effort led by Texas A&M Forest Service and the U.S. Forest Service and should be completed by mid-2016.

 

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ABOUT AMERICAN FORESTS

Founded in 1875, American Forests was the first national nonprofit conservation organization in the U.S. Its mission is to restore threatened forest ecosystems and inspire people to value and protect urban and wildland forests. In the past 25 years alone, American Forests has planted 50 million trees in approximately 1,000 high-impact forest restoration projects. These projects have restored hundreds of thousands of acres of wildlife habitat, protected vital watersheds and sequestered millions of tons of greenhouse gases. American Forests is also one of the nation’s leading advocates for expanding urban tree canopy and green space, and a key funder of urban forest initiatives that have transformed communities across the country. Learn more at www.americanforests.org.

ABOUT Bank of America Corporate Social Responsibility

Bank of America’s commitment to corporate social responsibility (CSR) is a strategic part of doing business globally. Our CSR efforts guide how we operate in a socially, economically, financially and environmentally responsible way around the world, to deliver for shareholders, customers, clients and employees. Our goal is to help create economically vibrant regions and communities through lending, investing and giving. By partnering with our stakeholders, we create value that empowers individuals and communities to thrive and contributes to the long-term success of our business. We have several core areas of focus for our CSR, including responsible business practices; environmental sustainability; strengthening local communities with a focus on housing, hunger and jobs; investing in global leadership development; and engaging through arts and culture. As part of these efforts, employee volunteers across the company contribute their time, passion and expertise to address issues in communities where they live and work. Learn more at www.bankofamerica.com/about and follow us on Twitter at @BofA_Community.

ABOUT TREEFOLKS

Established in 1989, TreeFolks volunteers and staff have planted 1 million trees in Central Texas at schools, parks, in medians, right of ways, community gardens, greenbelts and on private land in fire ravaged Bastrop County. TreeFolks impact preserves the Central Texas quality of life by cooling the air, cleaning precious water, sheltering locals from the hot Texas sun, and by providing a shaded sense of place that fosters a healthy, connected community.

MEDIA CONTACT

Christopher Horn | Director of Communications | 202.370.4517 (direct) | 913.549.0769 (cell) | chorn@americanforests.org

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