Laura stepped away from her busy duties as a mom and fruit gleaner to send us her thoughtful words on why she’s so dedicated to harvesting fruit trees in Toronto. We can relate to her story – looking around at the grocery store, it can be hard to find local produce when we want it and need it most. But her growing team at Not Far From the Tree continues to gather more and more fruit every year, showing that we don’t need to eat fruit from 4,000 kilometers away; it’s growing right in our backyards.
It's the height of the harvest season. I'm at the grocery store looking for a tasty treat - a juicy pear or a crisp apple - but all I can find are fruits from afar. New Zealand. Washington. Chile. Where are my local goods? And, perhaps most curious of all, how come I didn't just pluck some fruit from the heavily-laden tree I passed by on my way here?
So far this year, Not Far From The Tree has picked over 2,500 lbs. of fresh fruit from Toronto's trees. And, we're just getting started. There's an urban orchard surrounding us, once we know where to look. Hidden in backyards and alleys, tucked in among ravines and beside railway beds, there are apricots, mulberries, cherries, pears, elderberries, apples, plums, and so much more!
Given that most of the fruits and veggies on our plates travel 4000 km. from where they've been grown, it's incredibly empowering to bite an apple right off the tree. Our crew of 400 volunteers are making big changes by plucking local fruit. Not only are they reducing food miles and helping the environment, they're also sharing this wealth with neighbourhood shelters and food banks to provide access to fresh, local, healthy fruit for all. It's a local, grassroots action that tackles huge, global issues like hunger and climate change.
Fruit tree projects like Not Far From The Tree are gaining popularity. Look for one in your town or start your own if there isn't yet one. All it takes is a keen eye for fruit trees, a friendly chat with the owner, and a little elbow grease. (Oh and a cute t-shirt doesn't hurt either!)
Not Far From The Tree
To see what Laura’s talking about when she talks about “fruits from afar”, watch this Hellman’s Real Food Movement clip, which explores how our food is processed and how far it travels before it hits our dinner plates:
Here are some locations with similar initiatives:
Watch Laura’s video to learn more about her work, and be sure to check out her campaign page to take action on local food. Don’t forget to leave a comment on her profile and campaign pages with your thoughts and actions on local food!
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