Pick fruit with the Hamilton Fruit Tree Project this summer!

June 8, 2011 § 1 Comment

A really amazing project in Hamilton is the Hamilton Fruit Tree Project. There are so many people with fruit trees in their backyard who don’t take advantage of their harvest. So the HFTP volunteers visit houses with fruit trees and pick the fruit. One third of the fruit goes to the local food back, one third to the household whose tree was picked, and one third to the volunteers. It is a project common to many cities, Vancouver, Toronto and Guelph to name a few, but when the Hamilton project started in 2005 it was the first of its kind in Ontario.

Environment Hamilton’s Juby Lee coordinates the HFTP. In Green Living she said, “People assume that if [the fruit] is from someone’s backyard, it’s not as good as if it was professionally managed. People are really surprised not just that the project exists but the quality of that food.”

Last year the HFTP harvested 13,300 lbs of peaches, apples, pears, grapes and sour cherries. A lot of that, probably most of it I would I guess, probably would have fallen to the ground and composted itself naturally. But instead it provided food for local food banks, strengthened the community by bringing people and neighbours together, and made everyone a little less reliant on the supermarket, since they were eating produce grown in Hamilton!

And you know who is happily bagging pears in the above photo? Our very own Alex Bissley (black tank top, curly blond hair), co-host of The Grapevine!

It would be a great day trip to do with kids! You can get them outside, volunteering time, engaging with the community and local food system and at the end of the day you can eat some fresh fruit that you picked together! If you want to get involved, volunteer or offer your fruit tree for picking, visit the Fruit Tree site, email coordinator Juby Lee jlee(at)environmenthamilton.org or call her at 905-549-0900.

Watch this four minute video with Juby at Dundurn Castle to learn more!

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