On a dark December day, the delights of fresh summer fruit may feel like a distant memory. Nonetheless, as the end of year approaches, we wanted to take advantage of this time of reflection and transition to share some highlights of this past season with you, our valued community members.
First off, we would like to offer our sincerest thanks for your various forms of involvement and support this year. 2015 marked the 16th season of Fruit Tree Project operations, a year filled with growth and bounty. Despite the drought, we completed 51 picks this season and harvested 4175 pounds of backyard fruits to share with community members. These food waste recovery and community-building efforts were made possible because of the generosity and dedication of our pick leaders, volunteers, tree owners and community partners across Vancouver.
An Overview of 2015, By the Numbers:
- 51 picks
- 4715 lbs of fruit harvested
- 4175 lbs of fruit donated; over 88% shared with community partners
- 10 types of fruit: cherries, plums, pears, figs, Saskatoon berries, blackberries, blueberries, apples, grapes & quince
- 12 active pick leaders; 6 newly trained in 2015
- Over 1650 lbs picked by one pick leader
- 137 casual volunteer opportunities created through picks
- 75 distinct volunteers engaged
- 180 tree owners in database
- 3 canning workshops
- 7 outreach events
- 2 community events: ‘Just Eat It’ Film Screening and Dining from the Dumpster
- 1 “Community Chest” partnership with Whole Foods
- 18 prunes completed through the Pruning Social Enterprise
As in years past, our community partners shared our harvests with residents across Vancouver. Some of the organizations that most benefited from this partnership included Kits House, the Downtown Eastside Women’s Centre, Westside Family Place and Mt Pleasant Neighbourhood House. Partners used this fruit in meal programs, such as at the DTES Women’s Centre or Renfrew Collingwood Neighbourhood House, shared it fresh with families, as did Britannia Community Centre or Westside Family Place, or used it in some exciting capacity-building workshops, such as the “newcomers canning program” at South Van Neighbourhood House.
As these numbers also show, this past season we welcomed dozens of new tree owners, volunteers and pick leaders, as well as continued to advocate for and promote food recovery efforts across the city. We are always looking to grow our network of tree owners and pick leaders, so please continue sharing the Fruit Tree Project story, even in the off-season! Our tree pruning social enterprise also blossomed this year, and is still available for dormant pruning jobs. You, our supporters, underpinned all of these achievements. If this is work you would like to see grow in your neighbourhood, please consider making a donation to support our ongoing efforts.
Last but not least, we are currently recruiting for new board members, to begin in April 2016. You can find the posting here. We are looking to welcome a variety of expertise and experience to the board, so please give the posting a look!
So thank you once again for your involvement this season, and we hope this holiday season is a restful and rejuvenating one, filled with nourishing food and community. We are immensely grape-ful for all of your support and look forward to more fruitful collaboration in 2016, as we continue building a more abundant and equitable local food system together!
With many warm regards,
Rosalind and the Vancouver Fruit Tree Project Board