The Vancouver Fruit Tree Project is a local, sustainable food initiative that diverts food waste and provides healthy, local, organic food to those in need. Vancouver’s climate makes it a perfect place for backyard fruit trees, but much of the fruit produced by these trees every year goes to waste because tree owners can’t or don’t harvest their bounty. The VFTP connects teams of volunteer fruit pickers with tree owners who have excess fruit, and then donates the fruit to charity. In 2013 we completed 72 picks and donated 5,341 pounds of fruit that would otherwise have gone to waste! Our most common harvest is apples, but we also pick pears, plums, grapes, cherries, crabapples, quince and even kiwis!
We have fifteen community partners, including community centres, daycares, senior centres, supportive housing facilities, shelters and low-income grocery programs. The people served by these programs often have trouble accessing fresh healthy food, but our project makes this possible! Since the fruit all comes from Vancouver’s backyards it has an almost zero carbon footprint and is nearly always organic.
Our volunteers come from a range of backgrounds and we are one of the few family-friendly volunteering opportunities available in Vancouver. Many of our fruit tree owners are seniors who are no longer able to care for their trees, and our pick teams help connect them to their communities, thus reducing isolation.
We also run canning, preserving and tree pruning workshops to help Vancouverites learn about sustainability and take charge of their own food security. Turning waste into local, healthy, organic food for those in need - what could be more awesome!?
Funded by Vancouver, BC (February 2014)