Archive for the ‘Fundraising’ Category


#GivingTuesday: Why We Partner with City Fruit

GTWe love City Fruit! We each seek to give back to the Seattle community by making our members better gardeners and stewards of their edibles. Each year, City People’s Garden Store and City Fruit cohost the “Second Sunday & Some Saturdays Series” of workshops, which we offer free to the public. City Fruit finds instructors passionate about fruit trees and gardening in general, and the Garden Store hosts. The workshops range from Growing Figs to Protecting Pollinators, and this year we had our first Cider Making Event, which we hope to make an annual occurrence!

Each winter, as we receive our first bare root fruit in early February, City Fruit helps us brush off the frost and start the gardening season with enthusiasm, offering information on how to successfully grow bare root fruit and directing potential gardeners to our store. In return, we give a portion of our sales of winter fruit trees and bare root shrubs to City Fruit. Always a willing partner, the folks at City Fruit are wonderful to work with, and we admire all that they do. Please consider a donation to City Fruit today in the spirit of #GivingTuesday!

And be sure to check out the 2015 lineup of workshops (exact dates to be determined).

Kyra Butzel is with City People’s Garden Store in Seattle.


#GivingTuesday: Why I Harvest for City Fruit

GT3I support City Fruit wholeheartedly because they utilize food that would otherwise go to waste and share it with those who are less fortunate. City Fruit brings neighborhoods and communities together, emphasizing proper tree care, food justice, and civic engagement. Our supporters generously donate funds, volunteer hours, and even the fruit they grow on their own property.

For me, working with City Fruit is an opportunity to give back to the city that has given me so much and shaped the man I am today. It’s incredibly rewarding to be able to harvest local fruit, donate it to the nearest food bank/youth program/senior center, and give a person in need the bounty of freshly-picked fruit. Many food banks can only offer processed food, so every bit of fresh produce we at City Fruit can give makes a difference not just in the amount of food a person has access to, but also the nutritional value of that food.

The majority of fruit we harvest comes from the yards of generous tree owners. To maximize our 2015 harvest, we need more of Seattle’s tree owners involved, both through fruit donations and monetary support. On this #GivingTuesday, I am calling on all fruit tree owners to donate what you can to the 2015 harvest, and, if you haven’t already, register your tree(s) for gleaning by e-mailing [email protected]!

Thank you for supporting our organization. I hope to see you out there in the trees!

Dusty Towler is City Fruit’s West Seattle harvester.  He just completed his third season with the organization.


#GivingTuesday: Why City Fruit Inspires My Work

FB IconI first noticed apple blossoms peeking out from blackberry vines along the Burke-Gilman Trail in 2008. I’ve been rehabilitating public fruit trees ever since. I started volunteering with City Fruit around that time, and about a year ago became the organization’s orchard steward coordinator. Now I support volunteer stewards and their fruit tree care efforts in public orchards all over the city.

Our tree care regimen is strictly organic, without sprays or chemical fertilizers. The care takes just a few hours per tree each season, but we need many helping hands. City Fruit staff members are trained to harness the energy of hundreds of volunteers, coordinate care with Seattle Parks gardeners, and harvest and deliver fruit into Seattle’s emergency food system.

In 2014, our stewarded orchards yielded 6,000 pounds of fresh, organic fruit suitable for donation. We hope to grow, harvest, and donate even more orchard fruit in 2015, but we need your help! We work in the orchards year-round and welcome as many volunteers as we can handle. Come on your own or with a group from work, school, or the neighborhood. Check the City Fruit calendar for 2015 work parties or email [email protected] to schedule a custom work party. And please, on this #GivingTuesday, donate what you can to help City Fruit continue to grow!

Barb Burrill is City Fruit’s orchard stewards coordinator.


#GivingTuesday: Why I Give to City Fruit

On this #GivingTuesday, there are so many worthy causes and organizations to support. So why choose City Fruit?

As a board member for the past three years, here are my reasons:

  • A little goes a long way. Did you know that even a $10 donation provides a week’s worth a fruit to a family of four? And $50 can feed a family for the entire harvest season!
  • Hunger relief is needed now more than ever. A recent Feeding America study reported that 1 in 7 King County residents lack regular access to adequate food. City Fruit helps provide these individuals with healthy produce they couldn’t otherwise afford.
  • Make a difference for your entire community. City Fruit’s work doesn’t stop at the end of harvest season. In addition to classes and online resources, we host work parties year-round, making Seattle’s public orchards safer and healthier for everyone.

Our 2014 harvest saved nearly 28,000 pounds of fresh, local fruit from waste and put it to its best use: feeding people! City Fruit has the will and skill to harvest even more fruit next year, but we can’t do it without your help.

This #GivingTuesday, please donate to City Fruit at whatever level you can give. Together, we can make a huge impact!

Kristen Ramer Liang is a City Fruit Board Member.


#GivingTuesday: Why I Donate My Time to City Fruit

GT2When I was 19, I did a summer internship on a family-run organic farm outside Bellingham. I worked in the fields all day planting, harvesting, and weeding, and in the evenings ate with the family in the farmhouse. I worked up a serious appetite, and relished the simple yet delicious meals comprised largely of vegetables from the farm.

We often ate the culls, a word I had never heard until that summer. Throughout the day, any vegetables a little out of the ordinary got culled for the house kitchen—carrots twisted around each other, the smaller tomatoes, the bigger zucchinis, the deformed onions, or the broccoli that was too open. They weren’t ideal for selling to the grocery stores or at the farmer’s market, but they were still the best veggies I ever had.

The farmer would slice up heirloom tomatoes for us to taste at dinner, and the family would talk about the flavors. Until then, I had never had a tomato that wasn’t a Roma. I learned that there were deep purple tomatoes and green striped ones; tomatoes better for saucing and some better for eating fresh. I hadn’t known that there were so many more varieties of fruits and vegetables than you see at the grocery store.

That summer changed my awareness of the food we eat and piqued my interest in food systems. It changed the way I thought about waste, and got me excited about heirloom and unique plant varieties.

There are organizations in Seattle like City Fruit that care about these things, too. City Fruit harvested 28,000 pounds of fresh fruit from right here in the city that would otherwise have gone to waste, donating much of it into the emergency food system. As was the case on the farm, the fruit comprises a range of varieties, including less common ones like our grandparents may have eaten. Please consider supporting the work of this proactive organization that matches the abundance of urban fruit with a real local need. Celebrate #GivingTuesday by becoming a City Fruit Member or sign up to volunteer today.

Amber Casali is a City Fruit Ambassador.


Oh What a Night

When thinking about last night I just keep humming the brief refrain “Oh what a night”. The rest of the Four Season’s song doesn’t really apply but, ciderglassoh what a night. 250 (Two. Hundred. Fifty) City Fruit members, supporters, and cider fans came out to the Palace Ballroom in Downtown Seattle for City Fruit’s 4th Annual Cider Taste.

Mind. Blown.

While there folks sampled some amazing ciders from Schilling Cider, Seattle Cider Company, Dragon’s Head Cider, Finnriver, Nashi Orchards, Whitewood Cider, Alpenfire Cider, Snowdrift Cider Company, and Tieton Cider Works and snacked on small bites courtesy of Tom Douglas Restaurants. Everyone who attended also received a small souvenir glass courtesy of Capitol Cider.

shroom1In addition to the cider tastes, attendees were able to shop our marketplace and buy products from local companies, such as Glassybaby and Ballard Bee Company, and meet the authors of the books “Shroom“, “Good Fish“, and “Food Grown Right, In Your Backyard“.

Seeing the Palace Ballroom packed with people was the perfect way to celebrate the end of our record breaking 2014 harvest and kick off our fundraising and planning for 2015. This year we expanded to two new neighborhoods (Ballard and Wallingford) and harvested an incredible 25,000+ pounds of fruit (that’s almost 13 tons or more than the weight of two Asian elephants) that went to social organizations who helped put that fruit into the hands of those in need.

To say last night was our most cider2asuccessful Cider Taste to date would be an understatement. Not just in terms of attendance (did I mention 250 people were there?) and the number of cideries but also in the amount of money we were able to raise. Thanks to the generosity of those in attendance and sponsors like GLY Construction we raised $17,500, which goes a long way towards helping fund our 2015 harvest.

Last night was just AWESOME. It really inspired all of us to keep moving forward with the work we’re doing and we’re already starting to think about next year’s event (yes, we heard you, we’ll have more food). Everything we do, whether it’s this event or our harvest or our classes or any of our other programs, is possible because of your support so THANK YOU for cider1bcoming out and showing us you believe in what we’re doing. I know it can be a little bit of a cliché but it’s very true when I say we wouldn’t be here without all of you.

If you weren’t able to join us at the Cider Taste last night and would like to show your support for the 2015 harvest, you can make a donation here. Every dollar helps in fulfilling our mission to harvest the unused fruit growing in Seattle and to use it to help feed those who would otherwise not have access to high quality, fresh fruit.

Thank you again for your support of City Fruit, not just last night but over these many months and years. Here’s to 2015 being an even bigger year. Let’s harvest another elephant!

Whether or not you could attend you can relive (or experience) the evening via pictures and posts on social media.

Support City Fruit’s 2015 harvest with an online gift at

Larry Liang is president of City Fruit’s board of directors. 


Top Ten Reasons You Should Vote for City Fruit to Win $50,000!

There’s less than a week left to vote for City Fruit in Zipcar’s Communities with Drive program! We hope you’ve taken the time to help us win $50,000 and expand our urban harvest.  If you need a little more convincing, we have compiled a list of reasons to vote for us:

10.  Figs! You may not know it, but figs are a fruit grown throughout Seattle. Our annual gathering of figs helps sustain the harvest, as the fruit is too delicate for most food banks and we are able to sell them to partners like Tom Douglas Restaurants.


9. Apple cider. Each fall, we celebrate the apple harvest with a series of apple cider events in Seattle neighborhoods.  We also loan out our apple presses – one manual, one electric – to community organizations.  Tasty, delicious fresh apple cider? Yes, please!

8. Partners for a more sustainable future. We have a diverse range of partners that believe in the work we are doing and who help fund the harvest and our programming, including the City of Seattle Department of Parks and Recreation, the Washington Department of Natural Resources, and the King Conservation District.

7. Network of tree owners. With hundreds of residencies from around the Seattle area donating their trees to City Fruit, we help build communal solidarity through the idea that everyone deserves access to fresh, healthy produce. Neighbors get to participate in the sharing economy and build a stronger sense of community.

6. 55,000 pounds of fruit.  Over the last five years, City Fruit has harvested over 55,000 pounds of fruit from Seattle neighborhoods. This year the harvest is taking place in five neighborhoods – Wallingford, Ballard, South Seattle, West Seattle, and Phinney-Greenwood. We hope to continue expanding to new areas with your support, harvesting more fruit and getting it to those in need.

5. Stewardship. We conserve and protect Seattle’s natural resources by encouraging organic tree care, reducing the amount of pesticides entering our streams and oceans, and providing a healthy environment for our precious pollinators. Many of our orchard sites were once overrun with blackberry vines and other invasives before stewards intervened. We’re working to preserve urban orchards for the next generation.

4. Dedicated and knowledgeable Orchard Stewards. We train and support a network of hardworking volunteers who are committed to caring for Seattle’s diverse urban orchards. This amazing group works year-round to care for fruit trees and share knowledge with the public.

3. Delivering fresh fruit to 50 programs and growing. During the harvest season, City Fruit donates fruit to local food banks, meal programs, senior centers, and daycares, among others.  We’ve reached over 50 programs in the last five years.

2. Amazing volunteers.  From orchard stewards, to local volunteers, to corporate partners, to our amazing and talented board of directors, our work would not be possible without community support from people like you.

1. Rescuing a local resource. We take wasted, unused fruit and make it available to the emergency food system. Food banks often struggle to provide fresh produce for their patrons, and fresh fruit is especially appreciated and valuable. We also find uses for fruit that isn’t fresh eating quality, such as fresh cider, hard cider, preserves, and dried fruit.


Help City Fruit Win $50,000 to fund the Urban Harvest!

FINAL_CommunitieswithDriveFinalistTemplate_LogoWe are thrilled to announce that City Fruit was chosen as a finalist of the “Communities with Drive” program, sponsored by Zipcar, Inc. and Ford Motor Company.  Communities with Drive is designed to acknowledge and reward organizations that have a profound impact on the communities in which they operate. As one of 25 finalists from over 400 entries and the only finalist in Seattle, we are eligible to win $50,000 in cash as well as $15,450 in Zipcar credit to support our mission. Winners of the Communities with Drive program are voted on by the public on Facebook.

Vote for City Fruit on Facebook! 

The cash prize and Zipcar credit will be used to fund our annual harvest in five Seattle neighborhoods: Ballard, Phinney/Greenwood, South Seattle, Wallingford, and West Seattle. The grand prize would enable us to reach more neighborhoods — translating unused, wasted fruit into healthy, nutritious food for our neighbors in need. Our work is more important than ever; half of Seattle families facing hunger are not eligible for nutrition programs like food stamps.  City Fruit, along with our partners, help to fill that gap.

Please vote here and help spread the news!


Guest Bartender Night at 50 North to Benefit City Fruit

GBN Poster CityFruit50 North Restaurant, located in the University Village neighborhood, has invited City Fruit to be their Guest Bartenders on Wednesday , August 21st. This is the restaurant’s way of creating a fun night for customers while raising money for a charity or cause.

50 North is a family-friendly neighborhood place with an excellent bar and great upscale American food. A fun evening is guaranteed!

Who? Everyone, friends, family, co-workers and then some…

What? A Fun Benefit for City Fruit

Where? 50 North – 5001 25th Ave NE #100 at Northcut Landing, just North of Chase Bank. Easy, free garage parking!

When? 6 – 9 pm on Wednesday, August 21st. If you want to stay for dinner, you can make a reservation at 50 North generally stops serving dinner at 9 pm and the bar and bar menu shut down at 10. If business demands it, they will extend hours as necessary.

Why? Why wouldn’t you want to have a fun evening with good friends while supporting City Fruit

How? 50 North helps us raise money through:
• 10% of special drink sales for the charity
• Tip Jars around the bar for the charity
• Stickers on the restaurant bills to write in an amount to give the charity and charge it to your credit card
• And they make a donation to the charity

More: Bring anyone you want – friends, family, and co-workers. We look forward to seeing everyone there!


Homegrown Supports City Fruit with a Watermelon Caprese

Homegrown Sustainable Sandwich Shop is constantly striving to push the envelope on what social responsibility means in business today. They opened with a steadfast commitment to sustainable food sourcing and a rejection of wasteful products like bottled water.

As part of that, they created the Seasonal 10: an initiative that partners Homegrown with a like-minded non-profit each season for a donation of 10% of the sales from their seasonal sandwich. And this summer, they’re partnering with us!

They’ve created a tasty Watermelon Caprese: watermelon, heirloom tomato, fresh basil, feta cream + balsamic reduction. $6 for a small, $10 for a large. Plus you can add prosciutto for an extra $1. My mouth is watering just writing this.

So while you eat at their Fremont, Capital Hill, or Queen Anne locations, you are helping us cultivate urban fruit in order to nourish people, build community and protect the climate. Swing by Homegrown between June 21 and September 21 to support a great local business and local nonprofit.

Big thanks to the folks at Homegrown for their support!


City Fruit Book Event – An Evening with Edible Seattle: The Cookbook

Read for a good cause! Join us at Santoro’s Books in Greenwood for a special City Fruit Fundraiser.

When: Thursday, June 28, 2012, 6:00 – 8:30 p.m.

Where: Santoro’s Books, 7405 Greenwood Ave. N., Seattle, WA 98103

Edible Seattle editor Jill Lightner will be on hand to sign copies of the magazine’s newly released cookbook, featuring regional ingredients and recipes from local chefs. Drinks and small bites will be provided. Stay tuned for news of other goodies and giveaways.

15% of all book sales during the event will go to City Fruit in support of our 2012 summer harvest and other programs. And special thanks to Snoqualmie Winery  for their generous donation of wine.

Hope to see you there!


Thanks for coming to the cider taste!

Last night’s cider fest was a ton of fun! Thanks so much to everyone who came. It was a great crowd and people really loved tasting the many varieties of cider. A lot of people were surprised at how dramatically different the ciders could taste.

We have a lot of people to thank. Special thanks to the four cideries who came, some of whom drove quite far to make it! Alpenfire, Finn River, Snowdrift and Tieton poured 13 different varieties of cider. Thank you!

Thanks also to venue for letting us use the space, Beecher’s cheese for donating those tasty cheese curds and the many volunteers who spent a ton of time putting the event together.

And of course, thanks to everyone who came to support City Fruit! Your attendance helps us fund next year’s harvest, where we hope to collect even more fruit to donate to people who need it in our community.


Selling Fruit: Becoming Financially Sustainable

One of the main reasons we started City Fruit was to develop ways  to become more financially sustainable, rather than depend on an ever-shrinking pool of grant money for funding

As part of that, we’re experimenting with selling a small portion of the fruit we harvest – with a goal of selling no more than 20% of the usable fruit we harvest. So far this year, we’ve harvested 5,775 lbs. of fruit and have sold 448 lbs., so about 8%.

We always talk to home owners before selling fruit from their trees, explaining that the sale of this fruit goes directly to funding the neighborhood fruit harvests next year. We aim to be as transparent as possible and so will again release an annual report early  next year detailing how much we earned from fruit sales and how much it costs to organize our harvests.


We’re specifically targeting restaurants that have a reputation for caring about and seeing the value of using local foods as much as possible.  A couple of the places we’ve been selling to are A Caprice Kitchen and Kathy Casey. A Caprice Kitchen is even Tweeting about how they’re using our fruit:

“Be sure not to miss asian pear caramel pancakes at brunch this weekend, made with ballard pears from @cityfruit !”

And Kathy Casey featured us in her late summer newsletter, writing:

“Right now it’s Jam Time! It’s that time of year again when summer fruits are in abundance (despite this crazy weather!). We’ve been hooking up with City Fruit, a cool non-profit organization that gathers excess fruits from neighborhood yards then delivers them to food banks and restaurants. We love supporting them and are donning our sexy hairnets to cook up lots of great tasty treasures, which we will feature at Kathy Casey Food Studios annual open house this December … yes, we are thinking ahead!”

A few other ways in which the restaurants we’re selling to are putting our local fruit to good use:

  • Crab apple butter
  • Apple pies
  • Escarole with Asian pears
  • Red plum tarts

So far it’s been very exciting to see how the restaurants are using the fruit. They seem to really like the quality and variety of our local fruit and the customers seem to enjoy the food as well.

Farmer’s Markets

In addition to helping fund our harvests, one of the goals of selling fruit was to serve people who are low-income but don’t go to food banks or soup kitchens. In many places throughout the city, this population doesn’t have access to low-cost, healthy, local fruit.

Seattle Green Market FarmersTo help address this, a portion of our fruit is sold to the New Holly Farm Stand and to the Clean Green Market. We sell fruit to each at a much reduced price so that they can then offer this local fruit to their customers at an affordable price.

New Holly Farm Stand is part of the Seattle Market Gardens program and most of the farmers are immigrants from South East Asia and East Africa. It’s a relatively new farmers market and operates every Wednesday from 4-7 p.m. It’s at the corner of South Holly Park Drive and 40th Avenue South.

Clean Green Market was founded by Rev. Robert Jeffery (who along with City Fruit Executive Director, Gail Savina, was listed as one of Seattle Weekly’s Best of 2010), in an attempt to “supply fresh, wholesome produce to families in need in Seattle’s Central District.” The market is open from 10 a.m. – 6 p.m. on Fridays & Saturdays at the corner of 21st and Fir Street.

We hope that these efforts to sell a small portion of fruit, as well as our membership program, classes, and donations, will help us reduce our dependence on grants and increase our financial independence.

We’ll keep you posted on how this experiment goes.



Look good & support City Fruit at the same time

I’m happy to announce that we’ve officially launched an online store where you can buy all kinds of t-shirts, sweatshirts, mugs, & stickers to show your support for City Fruit. 

All proceeds go towards helping fund our work to help residential tree owners grow healthy fruit, to harvest and use what they can, and to share what they don’t need.

 Thanks much to Cafe Press for providing the platform by which we can do such a thing. It’s a great website & store.

Be the first on your block to strut around in a City Fruit t-shirt!


Selling Agriculture 2.0 to Silicon Valley

Courtesy NY TimesA good profile/article in the NY Times about the growing number of people interested in venture capital dollars for sustainable agriculture businesses. They specifically talk about NewSeeds Advisors who’s mission is Building a sustainable food system, one company at a time. Hard to argue with that.

Venture capitalists are always looking for the next new thing and as a follow-on from their interest in environmental & energy issues, have turned their focus to agriculture. Although, agriculture is hardly a “new” thing. And there are a number of ways to currently invest in agriculture companies and projects. But would be great to see a serious effort to fund smart, sustainable ideas.

A bit from the article:

“Sustainable ag smells like clean tech, but it’s not so obscure that you’ve never heard of it but obscure enough there’s no competition,” said Ms. Yorio, who added that investors had approached her about bringing the Agriculture 2.0 conference to Canada, Europe and India.

So far the venture capital investments in sustainable agriculture have been modest. Mr. Matteucci said his firm had one investment in an agriculture wastewater treatment start-up and was reviewing other potential deals. Mr. Deshpande said Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers had invested in companies developing technology to deal with agricultural water and waste.”


A new take on an old motto….

Blue Mountain Cider Company in Milton-Freewater, Oregon (right next door to Walla Walla, Washington home to some of the finest wineries in the country), has a new take on the old motto ‘an apple a day…': theirs is ‘An Apple a Day…One Glass at a Time’! One of City Fruit’s future projects is to use the not-so-pretty-apples picked from your garden in cider making. With donations from you, we can invest in a cider press, can teach classes on cider making, and help feed community spirit with another great hands-on learning experience.Be sure to check out Blue Mountain Cider Company’s Facebook page


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Piggy-backing on what James wrote below, not only does City Fruit have great volunteers, great collaborators and partners, and great ideas, but…we have donors, we have members!  This means that we have people who share our values and our mission, who are willing to put their money into a cause they believe in, and it means that we can expand our reach, share the fruits of our labour (pun intended!).  Our volunteers pick fruit, conduct tree care workshops, keep our website updated, write grants, deliver fruit to food banks.

Our donors and members come from within our contiguous geographic community as well as from other parts of the country.   Through our CF community, we have met other organisers from Portland OR,  Bellingham WA, fielded inquiries from New Zealand, Brooklyn NY.  We have had a professional videographer volunteer to help us get our message out.

We really hope you will help us get the word out…pass on our blog link to your friends and family.  And if you are able, please donate to City Fruit.  Find a donate now button on our website. Thanks!


First Annual Photo Contest

We’re looking for some excellent photos to use in our 2010 City Fruit Calendar. They should be related to growing, harvesting, picking, eating, and generally using urban fruit.

This is our first annual competition for our first calendar. How cool would it be to see your own photo in a calendar? And for the winning photo, the cover! We need photos of urban orchards, pests, bugs, people eating fruit, cider pressing, jam and . . . you get the idea.

Send it by Sept 1 to [email protected].

Read the terms & rules.