The Globe and Mail recently spoke to Laura Reinsborough — founder and director of one of Tides Canada Initiative’s newest projects, Not Far From The Tree — about the growing movement to transform urban-grown fruit that is normally left to rot into a solution for hunger and community building.
They ride in on Dutch cargo bikes, carrying reusable bags, ladders and old bed sheets to catch the spill of berries they learned how, through Internet videos, to shake from drooping trees.
When their bags are full and the tree branches naked, they pedal the yield off to food banks and shelters, rewarding themselves with a small take-home portion of crabapples, quince or serviceberries to use in experimental recipes.
As fruit trees come into season across Canada, expect these crop followers to pop up in several major cities: An international movement to make use of urban-grown fruit that is normally left to rot has burst into full bloom. Spurred by the success of , a Toronto non-profit launched in 2008 to harvest unwanted fruit from forgotten trees in backyards, alleyways and on public property, volunteer not-for-profit picking groups are organizing from Winnipeg and Calgary to places as far off as Perth, Australia, Puerto Rico and Scotland.
“City dwellers go far outside city limits and pay to pick apples elsewhere. It’s a novelty to be able to do that within the city,” said Laura Reinsborough, founder of Not Far From The Tree.