Accomplishments of the Felix Gillet Institute

Accomplishments of Felix Gillet Institute  2008-2022

Organizational Developments and Projects

Collected propagation materials from hundreds of heirloom mother plants on more than 75 sites in four Sierra Nevada counties

Contributed agricultural information to the Wikipedia page on Felix Gillet

Created database of observations of varietal resistance and susceptibility to fire blight, powdery mildew, codling moth, blister mites, productivity, scab, flavor and drought in heirloom varietals of the Sierra

Created FGI T shirts printed on organic cotton fabric

Created library of books and documents for heirloom varietal identification

Created numerous educational and promotional outreach efforts via social media

Designed FGI full color logo with local artist

Developed and operate website

Developed and operate Felix Gillet Facebook page

Developed and operated a fruit and nut tree nursery all naturally without chemical fertilizers or pesticides. We have propagated and sold 1000’s of plants over the last 6 years including apple, pear, cherry, fig, grape, plum, prune, almond, walnut, chestnut, lilac, peach, mulberry, 

Developed database of more than 3000 FGI supporters and customers

Developed educational Powerpoint on Felix Gillet and the Felix Gillet Institute

Developed literature for education and promotion of Gillet and the FGI

Developed online catalog of over 100 fruit, nut and grape varieties with illustrations, varietal descriptions, historic, cultural and other important info

Developed many value added products from chestnuts, walnuts, cherry, pear and apple

Digitizing and cataloging Felix Gillet, Barren Hill Nursery and Gillet Nursery historical documents

Discovered, evaluated and identified more than 300 varieties of heirloom fruit, nut and grape varieties

Educated public on the pioneering contributions of Felix Gillet to West coast agriculture

Educated property owners on the importance and maintenance of these heirloom plants

Established criteria and record keeping format to educate and deputize other arboreal archaeologists

Established historic research program; conducted research at numerous public and private libraries.

Established Mother Orchards in Sonoma and Nevada counties, comprising more than 100 heirloom varieties now growing in botanical preserves

Established nursery production and history educational program for students and adults

Established scientific evaluation criteria for characterizing varieties

Evaluated, cataloged, photographed and GPS recorded hundreds of individual specimens of  apple, cherry, pear, quince, sorbus, fig, medlar, peach, rose, lilac, plum, prune, hawthorn, olive, grape, almond, butternut, walnut, chestnut, pecan, filbert, hickory

Held public fruit and nut tastings and evaluations

Influenced Nevada City, CA City Council to pass ordinance prohibiting the removal of heirloom plants in Nevada City without a historical review and permit

Leased and operate 6 acre naturally grown, heirloom apple, pear and walnut orchard

Leased and operated 2 acre heirloom chestnut orchard. 

Located, identified and created database of 700 sites of heirloom trees and vines, more than 3000 individual plants located in Nevada, Placer, Yuba and Sierra counties

Marketed apples, pears, chestnuts and cherries from heirloom trees with accompanying educational materials to advise consumers of the value of  local heirlooms

Obtained California Non Profit status; Federal Non Profit status pending

Propagated plants for gardeners  and homesteaders; custom propagated for farmers

Protected 9 rare heirloom fruit and nut varieties submitted to Slow Food Ark of Test    (Accepted by USA and World Slow Food Ark of Taste regents)

Provide pest and disease management for numerous trees

Provide consulting services to many heirloom tree owners

Provide technical and organizational assistance to heirloom preservation groups in Mendocino, Humboldt, Contra Costa, Marin, San Mateo, Santa Cruz, Calaveras, and Sonoma counties

Research and development of chestnut processing equipment

Researched and wrote technical bulletins on planting and care of heirloom trees

Volunteered thousands of hours to the FGI

Services to Public and Private Sector

Conducted hundreds of hours of historical research

Contracted with State of California Parks Department for the identification, evaluation and GPS mapping of historic fruit and nut trees in China Gardens of Malakoff Diggins State Historic Park. Created state of the art document of same

Provided heirloom identification services for Fort Ross State Historic Park

Identification and propagation services for private individuals

Market heirloom fruits and nuts to stores, restaurants and direct

Provide pest management, tree restoration and pruning for historic plants on many sites

Research and development of value added products: chestnuts, pears, apples, figs, grapes

Educational Outreach to Community

Education about Gillet and the FGI on KFOK,  KFBK,  KVMR, KZYX, KSCO, KMUD, KKHI, KGO, KPFA, KNCO

Fruit and nut tastings

Grafting and plant propagation classes

Historic fruit and nut tree tours for public and schools

In field demonstrations of heirloom tree preservation and maintenance

Live Oak Waldorf School

Mentorship for farmers, students and public

Nevada Union High School Agriculture class

Nursery production and propagation training

Presentations at Nevada County Historical Society

Sierra Nevada College Sustainable Ag class (2x)

Workshops on importance of historical trees preservation

Cooperating Relationships with Government, School and Non Profit Organizations Working with Historic Plants

California Rare Fruit Growers

California State Parks

Luther Burbank Society

Nevada County Historical Society

NGO’s doing historic plant preservation in Italy and France

North American Fruit Explorers

Northern Nut Growers Association

Oregon State University

Pine Grove Cemetery (Nevada City CA)

Sacramento Rose Society

University of California Davis

US Clean Plant Network

US National Parks

USDA Germplasm Repository in Davis, CA and Corvallis, OR

Professional Organization Cooperating Relationships

Alex Suchan Nursery

Archeologia Arborea

Dave Wilson Nursery

Monrovia Nursery

Patrimoines La Riverie

Prospector Nursery

Sweetland Garden Supply

Trees of Antiquity


Ecological Farming Conference (2x)

Empire Mine State Historic Park Miners Festival

Forest City Apple Fest (2x)

Mendocino Scion Swap (2x)

National Heirloom Exposition

Nevada County Seed Swap

Terra Madre/Salone del Gusto

Featured Presentations

California Garden Club Association

California Rare Fruit Growers

California State Grange Annual Conference

Ecological Farming Conference

Fort Ross State Historic Park Foundation

Garden clubs, numerous

Garden Goddesses

Home Orchard Society

Luther Burbank Society

Malakoff Diggins State Historic Park Humbug Days (5x)

Mendocino Scion Swap

National Heirloom Exposition

Nevada County Ag Tour

Nevada County Beekeepers Association

Nevada County Historical Society

Nevada County Seed Swap

Nevada Union High School

North Columbia Schoolhouse

Northern Nut Growers Association

Sacramento Horticulture Society

Sacramento Slow Food

Sierra Nevada College Sustainable Ag class

Terra Madre/ Salone del Gusto

University of California, Davis

The 4th International Vavilov Conference, 20-24 November 2017, St. Petersburg Scientific Centre of the Russian Academy of Sciences, Russia.

Feature Articles about the FGI

Acres USA


California Rare Fruit Growers

Civil Eats

Edible East Bay

Farmer to Farmer

Farm Fork Life

Food Forest Garden

Huffington Post

Lucky Peach

North Star House Conservancy

Sacramento Bee

The Fruit Manifesto

The Union (4x)

United States of Cider


Barnraiser (Crowdfunding)

Bill Graham Foundation

BriarPatch Community Co-op

Gaia Foundation

Latrobe Fund

Personal donations, numerous

UNFI Foundation

Organization Memberships

California Rare Fruit Growers

Heritage Rose Foundation

Home Orchard Society

Nevada County Historical Society

North American Fruit Explorers

Northern Nut Growers Association