Free trees will be available during Harvest Food Hub's next two distribution sessions

Matt Hollinshead,

FARMINGTON — Physical Plant strives to promote ecological diversity for different trees and improve private landscaping for San Juan County residents.

The group, which runs through San Juan College, looks to do that by distributing free individual trees one can plant at home — and it found a partner in the Harvest Food Hub to help make the process safer amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

“It’ll help streamline our process and encourage people to come get both produce and trees,” said Aiessa Thomas, the Grounds Maintenance Supervisor at SJC. “It should be pretty smooth… We’re hoping this will entice more people to check out the food hub website if there’s a free tree involved.”

San Juan College officials have developed a plan under which the school will offer classes this fall in four ways.

Chris Harrelson, Senior Director of Physical Plant, said enhancing private landscaping is a major goal for the program.

“It makes the area more attractive to visitors,” Harrelson said. “We have many species that will grow well in this area, and we’re very proud to be able to share them with our surrounding communities.”

Thomas was also quick to point out what planting your own tree represents.

“When you think about it, you’re planting for the future… You’re planting for your children, the future of (the) community. Trees provide shade, they provide oxygen,” Thomas said.

There are 15 different trees to choose from, including several species of pine and oak trees.

Other well-known species of trees that’ll be distributed include ponderosa and desert willow trees.

Harvest Food Hub Project Manager Erin Havens said adding free trees to the picture will be extra incentive for more customers to place orders for produce through the food hub’s website, and that in turn will help promote the trees themselves.

“We have the perfect online platform to allow people to pre-order the trees, then come pick it up the same way they pick up the produce… We can help them load up their tree and then get on their way,” Havens said.

San Juan College's Harvest Food Hub is increasing market opportunities for local farmers by distributing their products to local restaurants, schools and other retail outlets.

Those looking to order a free tree with their food purchases can do so between 10 a.m. and 10 p.m. Monday, along with Sept. 14 during that same time window.

Plants will be distributed from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. Wednesday with the food orders, as well as that same time frame on Sept. 16.

That’ll be held at SJC’s Quality Center for Business, located at 5101 College Boulevard in Farmington.

To place an order, visit

Matt Hollinshead covers sports for the Daily Times. He can be reached at 505-564-4577 on Twitter at @MattH_717.

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