Proposal To Plant Fruit Trees In Tallahassee Food Deserts Is Officially Awesome

May 20, 2015

Awesome Tallahassee, a contest allowing innovators to pitch ideas to improve the capitol community, has crowned this month’s winner.

Finalists Taylor Biro (far left, now contest winner) and the team behind "Tallahassee Aquaponics," led by Lowell Collins (second to left).
Credit Matthew Seeger

Taylor Biro wants to create a sustainable oasis in some of Tallahassee’s many food deserts, by planting fruit trees in isolated areas that have little access to healthy food. She says she was inspired by an encounter with a child at a community center who couldn’t identify the strawberries she had brought.

“He’d never had a strawberry before. He was sixteen years old and had never had a strawberry, and he’s like ‘oh no, I’m not having that.’ All the other kids were saying, ‘no, it’s good,’ and when I turn around, I see his plate is just full of strawberries after trying just one,” Biro says.

Biro pitched her fruit tree proposal in the Awesome Tallahassee competition. Pitting her idea against two other contestants who were proposing a plan to bring llamas to schools and another to increase STEM education. Chester Spellman is one of the founders of the Tallahassee chapter of the worldwide Awesome contests. He says the judges were drawn to Biro’s idea.

“We just felt that there was really an important need in the community, and it was just an innovative idea, and we haven’t heard of an idea like this before,” Spellman says. “And so, we decided that it was something we wanted to invest in.”

Biro says she doesn’t just want to bring fruit trees to the community, she wants them to symbolize what it means to be a community.

“I really think that by showing someone that they’re worth more and that they deserve more, they’ll start believing it themselves, so this is one of the first steps to many people’s lives,” Biro says.

Biro will receive $1,000 to implement her idea. She plans to save that until winter, when conditions are right for planting trees.