Mike Bourgeois

Patrick Peartree’s got a special ticket that is taking him on an 8 to 13 year mission in orbit around the earth where no food procurement advocate for the needy has gone before. He is the imaginary 12 year old grandson of Mike Bourgeois, author of “Patricke Peartreee: A Modern Day Johnny Appleseed,” an award-winning book targeted to children of all ages.

Bourgeois, a long time food bank volunteer and former board member of the Greater Baton Rouge Food Bank (GBRFB) www.brfoodbank.org, wrote the book in order to encourage individuals and organizations to enlist their yards and other properties in the fight against hunger by employing edible landscaping to grow food and donate all or a portion of their harvests to food banks as tax deductible in-kind gifts.

The community minded book won an award in the 2006 Southern Pacific Relations Federation Lantern Awards competition based on such criteria as originality, creativity, planning and effectiveness. Initially planned as one book, the inclusion of a graphic of the Patricke Peartree character onboard the current January 2007 flight of Genesis II, an inflatable spacecraft owned by Nevada-based Bigelow Aerospace, inspired the author to expand the saga into a three book series.

Based on a true story, a boy named Patricke earns his nickname “Peartree” by becoming fascinated with his family’s 75 year old pear tree which is still producing fruit. With his grandfather’s help, he delves into his rich Sicilian ancestry and learns the ancient ways of farming, and most importantly, how to give back by donating food to the Food Bank. Packed with fun historical facts and website addresses for further reading, “Patricke Peartree” will teach children of all ages about how they can help needy children and their families.

“Patricke Peartree” even includes a packet of seeds in the front of the book to help start your garden as well as a list of local Food Banks. A portion of the proceeds from book sales will be donated to GBRFB. For every $1.00 collated by the GBRFB, more than $10.00 worth of food is distributed.

Bourgeois copyrighted the Patricke Peartree character separately for licensing purposes. He has plans for T-shirts and a host of Patricke Peartree products.”In short, I would like to see Patricke Peartree become the same kind of voice for donation horticulture that Smokey the Bear, for example, has been for fire prevention. When you consider that an estimated 20 million Americans in city, urban and rural areas planted Victory Gardens during World War II which produced 40 per cent of the food consumed at the time, you can get an idea of the enormous potential there is in utilizing donation horticulture to address the problem of hunger.”

obert Bigelow, visionary owner of the Budget suites of America hotel chain, also owns Bigelow Aerospace, the firm he formed in order to realize his dreams of establishing a commercial space complex by 2012. The company’s first experimental craft, Genesis I, sucessfully lifted off in July for 8 to 13 years orbit around the Earth. Genesis II has just lifted off In January of 2007, and Bigelow Aerospace has allowed members of the public to fly photos and other items onboard for a small fee. Patricke Peartree, or at least a drawing of him, is already on the flight. More information and photos from orbit can be found at http://www.bigelowaerospace.com

Mike Bourgeois has a wonderful vision that is coming true every day. A few years ago, a homeowner with just two pear trees in his back yard, gave one ton of pears to the Greater Baton Rouge Food Bank, some 1,000 pears from each tree. As America  battles against obesity, especially among the poor, such fresh produce is a very important weapon in the fight.

To get your copy of “Patricke Peartree,” send $10.50 to Bourgeois Enterprises, 537 Myrtle Hill Drive, Baton Rouge, LA 70810. You can get more information or order on the web at http://www.patrickepeartree.com