Growing health, strength, and fairness

How planting trees in neighborhoods lifts entire communities.

Trees do so much for every neighborhood. Beyond making streets more vibrant and creating places for neighbors to connect, trees are an important public health tool, offering many physical and mental benefits in any community they’re planted.

With an unmatched network of local planting partners, our roots in urban forestry run deep. To make sure the good we’re growing lasts well beyond planting day, our approach to neighborhood projects combines tree mapping data with the insights of our community partners. This collaboration of science and street-level knowledge helps us focus our work to be most effective.

Unfortunately, not everyone has access to the benefits of trees. That's why the Arbor Day Foundation is focused on working in neighborhoods of greatest need. Combining this approach with our wide network means we can make projects possible anywhere there is a need.

Neighbors helping neighbors

When a metro area experiences rapid growth, not all neighborhoods receive the same investment. This can be especially true in low-income and majority-minority neighborhoods. When areas are overlooked in this way, aging trees often aren’t well-maintained and new tree plantings aren’t prioritized. This disinvestment in urban forestry can lead to more negative impacts, like urban heat islands and limited community gathering spaces.

Working with the right local organizations in vibrant and vulnerable communities is key to the success of both trees and people. We intentionally support partners that root their work in the needs and preferences of their community. For instance, in Nashville, our partners are working under the guidance of neighborhood tree captains to distribute trees to their neighbors. These residents equip one another with tree care knowledge so the right trees are planted in the right places for the right reasons.

Nashville residents create healthier, more resilient communities with trees. See the story.

Rooting neighborhoods in a sense of home

Redevelopment housing projects provide home-ownership opportunities in low-to-moderate-income neighbors, but they do not always include funding for trees.

We know that trees bring people together in more ways than one. In neighborhoods, they create natural gathering places to connect and build community ties. A tree can be a sign that a new development is more than a housing project — it's a community putting down roots for the long term.

Trees help a community take root in Upstate South Carolina. See the story.

Meeting food insecurity with sustenance

What happens when a neighborhood lacks access to traditional supermarkets or other opportunities to obtain healthy food and produce? People living in these food deserts often end up eating more readily available, but unhealthy, processed food.

We work with local partners who understand how to best support their communities. In food deserts, we provide local groups with resources they need to plant trees that can meet their specific needs. Take our partners in Brownsville, where one group is using trees to grow nutritious food for neighbors who would otherwise have limited access.

Planting trees in the fight against food insecurity in Brownsville, FL. See the story

Growing change

Complex and enduring community challenges are all around us. And change doesn’t happen overnight. But planting trees is a simple, tangible way to create meaningful positive impact in our communities. Every tree planted gives back, and when planted at scale, we can do global good. We can’t do this work alone. But together, we can grow a more hopeful future.

Plant hope in communities.

Your action today makes a real difference in our neighbors’ lives.

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A Tree Can Be Empowering

The neighborhood of Brownsville is home to about 17,000 people living with food insecurity and a lack of fresh produce on a daily basis. Learn how, in the face of this food desert, a community came together to grow their own.

See a community's work in action in Miami.