Author Archives: Emily

Treehouse Treats: Cultivating community food resilience through social enterprise

Picking fruit is not all the Vancouver Fruit Tree Project is up to these days!

In the spirit of cooperation, and to diversify our funding sources, we have teamed up with the Environmental Youth Alliance (EYA) and two local businesses – Savoury City Catering and Sustainable Produce Urban Delivery (SPUD) – to create a small social enterprise called Treehouse Treats in the hopes of generating alternative revenue sources for our organization while finding tangible solutions for growing our local food supply.

Treehouse Treats takes a portion of our locally picked fruit and bakes it into fabulous pies or galettes that we have been selling at our local farmer’s markets. As the project grows, the revenue generated will be split between The Vancouver Fruit Tree Project and The Environmental Youth Alliance to finance ongoing projects.

Diversifying our funding sources is our commitment to building a viable long term Fruit Tree Project while at the same time supporting youth leadership and skill-building in the area of value-added food recovery.

Two amazing and very hard working EYA youth, Weslley Loke and Betty Sung, have been leading the project who with the help of Fruit Tree volunteers. For the past year, they have been developing recipes, baking the galettes, and selling them at the Westside Community Food Market, the Trout Lake Farmers Market, and the Winter Market.

None of this could happen without the generous support of our business partners, Savoury City Catering and SPUD, who have provided us valuable kitchen space, mentorship, and fruit donations in the off-season, which allows us to keep the project going year-round.

  • Where: Westside Community Food Market at 8th Avenue and Vine Street
  • When: Thursday evenings, specifically August 23, September 6, and September 20, from 4:00 to 7:00 pm

Be sure to stop in and pay us a visit! Treehouse Treats galettes are the kind of treat you can really feel good about. A stop on the way home for a bit of ice cream can’t hurt either.



Meet the 2012 team!

One of the many great things about working with the Vancouver Fruit Tree Project (VFTP) is the people, and this year’s team is no exception! Meet this year’s enthusiastic group, below.

Hilda Leung

Hilda Leung joined the VFTP board in 2012. She was born and raised in Hong Kong and moved to Vancouver when she was nine. Hilda loves to travel, try new restaurants, and practice yoga. She’s constantly searching for new patios and rooftop bars on which to soak up the sun. Hilda is an audit manager at a public practice accounting firm and is excited to bring her bean-counting skills to VFTP as  Treasurer.

Ian Marcuse

Ian Marcuse is the community food developer for the Grandview-Woodland Food Connection and an advisory member to the Fruit Tree Project. “I love the fruit tree project. It is so simple yet nicely integrates two key food system issues – food waste recovery and food equity,” he says. Ian is particularly interested in the role that food plays in building more inclusive communities and through his work, focuses on projects that connect with harder-to-reach community members through engaging food projects.

Jenn upham

Jenn is passionate about food security. She keeps busy working for various non-profit organizations around Vancouver including the Vancouver Farmers Markets, the PuSh International Performing Arts Festival, and the Firehall Arts Centre. In her spare time, Jenn enjoys festivals, photography, riding bikes, bee-keeping, growing vegetables at City Hall, planning adventures, and attempting to play the ukulele.

Julia Thiessen

Julia’s passion for connecting people to nature has come to fruition most recently with coordinating the Vancouver Fruit Tree Project. Through her work with the Environmental Youth Alliance, where she continues to work, she has found nature to be an ideal partner in providing what people need. Whether a place to de-stress, learn new skills, find inspiration or sustenance, nature provides! When not picking fruit, Julia can be found gardening, discovering new kale recipes, and teaching meditation.

Karen SawatZky

Karen learned of the joys of gleaning through a fruit tree project in another city. The community-building, practicality, thriftiness, and efficiency of the fruit tree project concept have appealed to her ever since, so she’s happy to have the chance to get involved with Vancouver’s version of this great idea. She’s also glad for the opportunity to contribute in a small way to making healthy food more accessible and Vancouver a more sustainable city.

Karly Pinch

Karly is a passionate environmentalist, with background in facilitation, organizational development, and program management. Having grown up around Vancouver, and graduated from UBC, she is excited to be involved with an organization that aims to connect food sources with community partners. Karly loves camping, biking, skiing, and relaxing on her Kits patio, and is a beginner gardener who loves seeing food grow!

Lin Gardiner

A music producer and sound designer by day, in her “spare” time, board member Lin Gardiner loves to help out the VFTP as she recognizes the growing importance of food security in today’s ever-fragile world. Lin has been with the VFTP since 2010, helping in a number of ways behind the scenes, from communications, to event planning and general support where needed! True to her name, Lin is also a keen gardener as she’s lucky enough to have a backyard in which to learn about growing food!

Sam Bradd

Sam has been a Board member with the VFTP since 2010. His work takes place mostly behind the scenes: web and graphic design, grant-writing, and wrangling paperwork. He’s finds Vancouver’s many food security projects exciting; he feels it’s rewarding that VFTP can rescue backyard fruit and donate it to different groups. He is an illustrator and graphic recorder whose art brings together communications, creativity, and community.

Emily Wight

Emily is a writer, editor, and communications manager who is enthusiastic about all things edible. She is a strong believer in locavorism, food accessibility, and community gardens. Since joining the VFTP in 2012, she’s been writing the group’s communications plan and trying to post as often as possible to the group’s social media profiles. She spends most of her days wrangling a very hungry (and subsequently very large) baby, and trying to figure out what’s for dinner.

Hello, summer! Let’s get picking.


Now that summer’s made up its mind to stick around, it’s time to start thinking about fruit! The first pick of the season will take place this Friday, July 13, at 6:00 p.m.

The location has yet to be determined, but if you’re interested in volunteering to pick this week (or if you’d like to participate in future picks), email Julia at [email protected] for more information.

If you have or know of a fruit tree that’s dropping fruit, visit our website for information about how you can have the Vancouver Fruit Tree Project collect and distribute the fruit to our community partners.