Thursday, August 29, 2013

Free fruit for everyone! Come and get it!

You look sadly at the apple tree in your yard. All summer you’ve watched fruit blossom, grow, and ripen. This week it’s ready, but you haven’t time to pick it all and it’s more than you could possibly eat, anyway. Yet you hate to think of it going to waste, falling just to rot and attract pests. You’re even thinking of cutting the nuisance down.
But wait! Like magic, a crew of local volunteers arrives, deploys ladders, and fills bags & baskets with ripe apples! They leave enough for you, they take some for themselves, and deliver the rest to a local food bank. Like them, you’ve become a vital link in community food security, providing healthy local organic fruit to hungry people. Instead of cutting the tree down, you’ll prune it to boost next year’s bounty. Your tree lives on to filter air and water, provide shade and shelter, and support bees and other vital species in our urban ecology.
Sound too good to be true? It’s happening now! FruitShare Barrie, partnering Living Green, Transition Barrie, the Resilience Collaborative and the Simcoe Muskoka District Health Unit, is in the thick of our pilot season and we’re overwhelmed by just how much fruit is out there and how eager the community is to make these connections. We need YOU to make the magic happen; more helpers lighten the load and redirect more fruit from waste to good use.
If you love hands-on, we need pickers and supervisors (“ShareBosses”) to grab that fruit. Beyond picking, we need administration, IT, and web design. Harvesting local fruit is fun for all ages: teenagers get community hour credits, seniors stay socially engaged, families learn first-hand where food comes from. And everybody gets a taste and a take-home basket!
Of course, if you have a fruit tree to be picked, let us know. This is just our pilot year so we won’t get to every tree, and can’t get outside Barrie, but please let us know what you have so we can build our database and plan for next year’s full season.
We also need equipment; your donations help because we’ve already exceeded this year’s budget of zero. Bushel baskets, ladders, scales, tarps, and picking sticks will be happily accepted; valuable equipment or cash donations get charitable receipts. We’re confident that citizens, businesses, and service clubs will all be eager to support this worthy effort to enhance community well-being and improve food access.
Food insecurity is a serious problem in our community; 52% of residents don’t get at least 5 servings of fruit or vegetables each day, and the number of people accessing food banks is increasing every year. With fresh produce so important to a basic healthy diet yet so costly, the ability to harvest and deliver it for free is a win-win-win for everyone.
FruitShare Barrie is run by community volunteers, so the best way to reach us is by emailing No email? Try reaching us by phone at 705-436-1093.

Update: CTV did a great story at one of our picks yesterday! (Skip ahead to about 9:25 of this clip).

Published as my Root Issues column in the Barrie Examiner as "Barrie residents sharing the fruits of their labour"
Erich Jacoby-Hawkins is a director of Living Green and the Robert Schalkenbach Foundation.

No comments:

Post a Comment