Ever since The GardenWorks Project started back in early 2012, we’ve been talking about fruit tree gleaning. We’ve wanted to add a new component to the project, but frankly, once fruit tree harvesting time comes along, we’ve been too exhausted to even consider it, and it’s too late in the year to plan for it. We’re still intrigued by the thought of adding fresh fruit to the produce that we are able to offer our clients and local food pantries.
What is “gleaning”? It’s the harvesting of unwanted food. We suspect that many homeowners have fruit trees, most likely apples, that go unharvested for lots of different reasons. Maybe the homeowners harvest what they can use for the year, or only those fruits they can reach, and leave the rest to rot. With so many hungry families in our area, it’s a shame that nutritious food should go to waste. The poverty rate in DuPage County is approaching 8%, and we would love to provide fresh fruits to these families so that they can stretch their food dollars even further.
Fruit gleaning not only feeds the hungry, it builds community. Imagine gorgeous, sunny days in early fall where groups of people, all dedicated to the cause, get together to pick apples. Sounds fun, huh? Like The GardenWorks Project itself, gleaning also supports the hyper-local food movement by reducing “food miles” and the environmental damage caused by transporting, processing, and packaging food.
If you, or someone you know, has a fruit tree (or berry bushes) that would otherwise go unharvested, contact us. We can get a team of volunteers together to pick the fruit and share it with clients of The GardenWorks Project (who all utilize our local food pantries and/or other anti-poverty services) and local food pantries. Send us a message (below) so that we can get started making the necessary connections between homeowners and volunteers. Let’s do this!