SA Food Bank, Air Force partner to plant citrus trees at Mission San Juan

Trees should bear fruit in less than year

By Ashly Custer - Reporter

SAN ANTONIO - The San Antonio Food Bank and U.S. Air Force are working together to bring the historic Mission San Juan farm to life. Participants spent their Saturday planting hundreds of citrus trees.

The plot of land at Mission San Juan was once thriving farmland. Two hundred airmen from Joint Base San Antonio-Lackland are working to bring history back to life.

“This is a great morale event. These new airmen are really excited to do something really positive for the community they are a part of,” said. Col. William Fischer, commander of the 737th Training Group at JBSA-Lackland.

The Air Force has joined forces with the food bank to combat hunger in the community. On Saturday, participants planted more than 200 orange trees on 10 acres of the farm.

"Our biggest goal is to provide nutritional value of items to the families we service. And fruits and vegetables are one of the greatest assets that we can provide to our families in San Antonio,” said Louie Guzman, corporate giving manager of the San Antonio Food Bank.

Harvesting the fruit from the citrus trees is just one of the many ways the food bank will work toward feeding those in need.

The trees are expected to bear fruit in as little as a year. They will produce more fruit as they mature over the next 2-3 years.

“If the crops are right, if the rain is right and everything — and we don’t lose a tree — we should be expecting 100,000 pounds worth of produce to be produced here on this property,” Guzman said.

The food bank said over the next five years, it plans to continue to develop more acreage at Mission San Juan to harvest healthy and nutritional food for the local families it serves. 

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