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The 6th annual project to distribute native fruit and nut trees to homeowners, community gardens, and land projects in Carbondale neighborhoods and the surrounding region. Our goal is food autonomy, community engagement, & ecological awareness.


how it works:

The Neighborhood Planting Project distributes a limited variety of fruit or nut bearing, bare-root tree seedlings. Trees are born at the IL state nursery and/or other regional tree nurseries. We bulk order trees, pick them up, and bring them to southern Illinois. While trees are given away freely, just $0.50 cents covers the cost of a tree, and small donations help fund the project. Additionally, you may *reserve* your trees for a nonrefundable $25 fee, guaranteeing your order (links below).
Click the green button above for this year's details and to order trees & use one of the links below to send your $25 reservation fee, if desired.
Trees are bare root, approximately 2-4' tall, and easy to plant. All trees are native varieties which makes them hardy crops and excellent choices for a native edible landscape. We offer planting help to those who may need it, roughly within the city limits of Carbondale (indicate on sign up form). Tree care and resources will be available off and on in the coming years, in coordination with the Washington Street Garden and the Carbondale Spring Food Autonomy project. 
We have distributed 300 trees in 2018; 400 in 2019; 1,000 trees in 2020; 1600 trees in 2021; 2,000 in 2022. 
this year's selection
Pecan, Persimmon, Hawthorn,
Hazelnut, Elderberry, Chokecherry (Aronia),
White Oak, Smooth Sumac, Staghorn Sumac
Tree information can be found by clicking the name on the IL Mason State Nursery order form.


APRIL 8 2022


Rain or shine!

Reserve on Form;

pick up first come first serve on event day.

12P - 3P

Pick up your trees on a first come first serve basis. Join us outdoors for a Community Plant Swap to browse/pick up trees, permaculture guild plants, seedlings, and more at BIRCH ST FOOD FOREST.


405 E BIRCH St

Carbondale IL 62901

Questions? Email us and someone will get back to you as soon as possible.


community garden events



join workdays
at WSG, Red Hen, & Chestnut Garden


April 8


at Birch St Food Forest / Chestnut Community Garden


May 6


at Red Hen Garden


join workdays
at WSG, Red Hen, & Chestnut Garden

join workdays
at WSG, Red Hen, & Chestnut Garden





Carbondale Spring

Carbondale Spring Food Autonomy

Flyover Social Center

The Washington Street Garden

Red Hen Garden

Revolution Recyling

Men of Power, Women of Strength of Cairo

Food Works

Carbondale Winter Market



Are you an organization or business who would like to help us build food security?  Do you have plants or resources to contribute?  Would you like to share knowledge with neighborhood residents in a workshop to promote your services/products? Reach out to us to discuss sponsorship or partnership opportunities.


Check out our big-sister project in Bloomington, Indiana, where the idea of getting as many free food bearing trees back into our neighborhoods bloomed!



Where do I go to get my trees?

tbd: we'll update date and location when we have it


How much work is involved in adopting a tree?

As hardy natives the trees won't need a ton of care. If the weather’s dry, a five gallon bucket of water once or twice a week.  Some watering is most important in the first couple years, after which the tree starts to get hardier. Extra things you can do to help it thrive are to lay leaves or mulch around the roots in the winter and prune as the years go by (and we’re happy to be a resource for pruning help and suggestions as the plant enters productive years.)


Will I be sure to receive help on planting day?

We are organizing volunteers from many organizations, community gardens, and various networks. We believe we'll be well equipped to help homeowners plant, as well as plant large scale garden projects. However, please tell all your friends and neighbors we're accepting volunteers on planting day! 

What about hungry rabbits and deer?

Trees being planted in areas with heavy wildlife may need cages installed. We will not be supplying these.


How big do the plants get?

Most trees will get between 6-12', but several will get much taller. See each trees height, spread, and recommended spacing, plus much more planting, harvest, and use information on the resources page. 


How do plants pollinate?

Most of the plants are self pollinating. Those that need at least two plants we will be sure to let you know and provide you with at least two. Almost all the plants are also self propagating, with many shooting up sprouts from the base. See more info and specific details on the resources page.


Sun & moisture needs?

Pawpaws like some shade, and then to grow to be more sun-tolerant as they mature – they are an excellent understory planting beneath larger trees. The majority of the trees prefer full sun, but will produce-- albeit less abundantly-- in partial shade. Some will produce better in shade than others. We list the their individual needs on the resources page.


When does harvest start?

You'll be harvesting plum and hazelnut within 2-4 years, chokecherry and persimmon within 3-6 years, paw paw and pecan within 4-6 years. So, it's a long term investment. Plants range from medium to fast growers, and most will grow a few feet per year. Learn more on the resources page.

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