Marana and Oro Valley residents have the power to bring thousands of dollars worth of playground equipment and a one-acre fruit orchard to local communities by getting online everyday to vote on two separate projects in the national running for grants.

Winning by popular vote is the key to success for the Marana Heritage Farm Project, and the Oro Valley proposal to put ADA-compliant equipment in a local public park.

Marana Heritage Farm was named a finalist in the “Communities Take Root” program sponsored by Dreyer’s Grand Ice Cream, Inc., and now has until June 30 to compete for votes to win a fruit orchard that will be planted by the Fruit Tree Planting Foundation.

The program is aimed at selecting 20 communities nationwide in which orchards will be planted by Dec. 31.

The top five vote-getters in each of four rounds win. The first round ended on May 31. The second round, which includes the Marana project, started on June first and will continue to the end of this month.

The Marana project is lagging behind in votes, standing in fourth place with 13,470, at press time on Tuesday. It is important to get more votes and remain in the top five, with the food bank urging residents to get online and vote every day.

While the Marana orchard project doesn’t have to finish in first, by June 30 it has to be in the top five in order to win.

If the project does not finish in the top five, it is voted out. The project does not carry over into rounds three or four.

If the project remains in the top five in the nationwide vote by June 30, Maggie Whiteside, of the Marana food bank, said they will win a one-acre orchard that will provide fruit for the food bank’s Child Hunger and Nutrition programs. It will also feature a demonstration area to teach citizens about raising fruit trees in the desert.

To help the Town of Marana win a one-acre fruit orchard, residents must vote at every day. To register, the website requires a voter’s full name and email address.

In Oro Valley, voting will continue through June 14, with the proposed park project remaining in first place.

As long as strong voting continues to help Oro Valley beat out the other finalists in the Phoenix area, the town will receive a $25,000 grant from the Keg Steakhouse & Bar “Thanks a Million” campaign.

The nationwide chain is giving a total of forty $25,000 grants nationwide based on popular voting for the final projects selected.

To continue voting on the Oro Valley project, log on to

How to vote

Marana Heritage Farm Fruit Orchard Project

Current ranking: 4th with 13,470 votes

Can vote once daily

Deadline: June 30

Oro Valley Park Project

Current ranking: 1st

Can vote once daily

Deadline: June 14

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