A group of volunteers armed with a variety of fruit picking tools were harvesting ripe plums at a Campbell River resident’s home on Saturday afternoon.
All gathered were in terrific moods as they knew they would be leaving with plenty of the tasty fruit, and helping others in the process.
Dawn Summer Langerak is one of the fruit picking coordinators for Greenways Land Trust’s fruit picking program.
She explained residents offer up their fruit trees to be harvested in return for 25 per cent of what’s picked.
“Then our volunteers come in and they split 25 per cent of what we harvest,” Langerak said.
“While 50 per cent goes to our community partners.”
Saturday’s picking was being donated to Grassroots Kind Hearts, but the program has benefited the food bank, community kitchens in Campbell River, and some halfway houses.
Langerak noted the program fits in quite well with a city mandate to be self sufficient when it comes to food.
“We provide the home owners, as well as the community partners with food to reduce waste,” she said, before pointing out another benefit.
“One of the plus sides of the program was to reduce animals coming into the city and picking the dead fall,” she said.
The program got off the grounds in 2019, and despite the pandemic, had a very successful 2020.
Almost 30 tree owners contacted organizers, and 46 trees were harvested of 3,297 pounds of fruit by 33 volunteers. More than 2,400lbs of the fruit was donated to 13 community partners.
Of those who took a survey, 100 per cent of both volunteers and tree owners said they would like to participate in the project again next year
For more information on the project, and other initiatives Greenways Land Trust is working on, see https://www.greenwaystrust.ca/fruit-tree-project/