Archive for the ‘Non-profits’ Category

Sep02

Giving Fruit to Youth in our Communities

High Point HEalthy Families Celebration

These past couple of weeks have been very exciting for me as I’ve been able to expose City Fruit to two neighborhood Back to School events and provide fruit to them as well! A large part of why I do the work I do is because I care deeply about culturally appropriate, healthy food access for all people regardless of where they live, what they do, or how much money they make. As a person who grew up in a working class family and who had to trek nearly thirty minutes to a single farmers market outside of my community, I’ve made it a part of my life’s goal to increase accessibility of affordable (or in City Fruit’s case, free!) fresh food.

The first event — High Point Healthy Families Celebration —  was held at Neighborhood House in West Seattle, one of the first neighborhoods in Seattle where City Fruit still harvests and donates fruit. The community event was hustling and bustling with other awesome organizations who have a presence in West Seattle. Besides for awesome City Fruit gear giveaways, we were able to donate many crates of Italian plums to complement their free dinner!

Van Asselt Elementary School was the next Back to School festival we were able to partner with this year. We’re lucky enough to work in the same neighborhood of the school (Beacon Hill), so providing fresh fruit for them just made sense! Over 400 people attended the event and they were able to enjoy some tasty varieties of pears and plums. They also got some sweet bookmarks to start their school year off right! Our harvest coordinator Luke dropped off the bounty and was swarmed by a group of third graders who asked asked him how much money all of the fruit cost to buy in which he was able to explain City Fruit’s model. His response was shocking to the kids: “It was free! Thanks to the goodwill and generosity of folks in our community, MANY more people can enjoy fresh fruit!”

Support City Fruit today by getting involved as a volunteer harvester to get more fruit to families in need. You can also join us by taking care of the fruit trees in one of the public parks we steward to ensure pest free apples, plums, and pears!

Melanie is the Community Outreach Coordinator for City Fruit.

Aug31

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.

Restaurants

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.

 

Jun29

Get Your Fruit Harvested

It’s getting to be that time of year when the fruit is starting to ripen. We’ve already got our first harvest scheduled for next week to pick a bunch of cherries. Can’t wait!

If you have a fruit tree or grape vine that will produce more fruit than you can possibly eat this summer, there are several organizations out there that will harvest that fruit and ensure that it’s put to productive use — including City Fruit. Check out the below information for the right organization to contact for your neighborhood.

Phinney/Greenwood: phinney@cityfruit.org 

Crownhill: crownhill@cityfruit.org

South Seattle: gail@cityfruit.org

West Seattle: info@gleanit.org

Throughout Seattle: help@gardenhotline.org

Mar24

London Orchard Project: Bringing fruit to car parks

You know how some cities have sister cities in other parts of the world? I think Seattle has a few including Perugia, Italy and Christchurch, New Zealand.

Well, London Orchard Project could be City Fruit’s sister organization. From their mission:

“We are working with Londoners to plant and harvest…trees all over the city.”

There isn’t too much information on their website, but they are also trying to education tree owners, make sure fruit is harvested & used, and re-develop an expertise in and appreciation for fruit trees as a local, viable food source.

The Guardian, one of my favorite papers — the Sunday edition especially — wrote an article last week about the work the London Orchard Project is doing. I’m very impressed and have reached out to them to say hi and see what we can learn from what they’re up to.

Apparantly it’s spreading outside of London as well. Manchester‘s getting in to the game too.

Mar19

We, the people, are doing so much good!

Alleycat Acres posted a great story about The Ground Up Project with whom they are going to partner at the Yesler Terrace housing group. Will Allen visited with them when he was in town. They are creating plans for a green community that suit and reflect the structure of this residential shape and form, not some generic ideal. They are involving and training teens. Check them out! Offer to get involved, lend a hand, be engaged!

Mar09

Fruit Tree Planting Foundation

I stumbled across The Fruit Tree Planting Foundation the other day and am totally impressed by this organization. They’ve got a bold goal but look to be steadily marching towards it. From their website:

“The Fruit Tree Planting Foundation is a nonprofit charity dedicated to planting edible, fruitful trees and plants to benefit the environment and all its inhabitants. Our primary mission is to plant and help others plant a collective total of 18 billion fruit trees across the world (approximately 3 for every person alive) and encourage their growth under organic standards. “

And here’s a quick video that provides a great overview. They’ve got a number of videos up describing their projects.

Be sure to check out their Orchard Grant Application. They’re giving away fruit trees to non-profits, public parks, public schools, and community gardens. There are some rules & restrictions, but it’s a great program — you can help add to the urban edible tree canopy of Seattle.

There are a couple things that struck me as I learned more about them. First, is the quantity & quality of the projects they’ve been managing — both here in the U.S. and other places in the world. I particularly like their work on Native American Indian Reservations. Great idea.

FTPF: Tana Delta Fruit Relief, KenyaIt also makes me feel lucky for the amount of fruit trees we have right here in our city. This is an organization that goes around working with communities to plant fruit trees so that they can have local, healthy fruit. And we’re fortunate enough to have an urban orchard right here in our backyards — literally.

City Fruit’s goal is to  help nurture that urban orchard: identifying the city’s fruit trees, educating tree owners, working to create healthier trees, and ensuring the fruit is harvested & used to help our communities. With your help, we’re making that happen.

Mar09

Fruit Tree Planting Foundation

by James R.

I stumbled across The Fruit Tree Planting Foundation the other day and am totally impressed by this organization. They’ve got a bold goal but look to be steadily marching towards it. From their website:

“The Fruit Tree Planting Foundation is a nonprofit charity dedicated to planting edible, fruitful trees and plants to benefit the environment and all its inhabitants. Our primary mission is to plant and help others plant a collective total of 18 billion fruit trees across the world (approximately 3 for every person alive) and encourage their growth under organic standards. “

They’ve got a number of videos up describing their projects.

Be sure to check out their Orchard Grant Application. They’re giving away fruit trees to non-profits, public parks, public schools, and community gardens. There are some rules & restrictions, but it’s a great program — you can help add to the urban edible tree canopy of Seattle.

There are a couple things that struck me as I learned more about them. First, is the quantity & quality of the projects they’ve been managing — both here in the U.S. and other places in the world. I particularly like their work on Native American Indian Reservations. Great idea.

It also makes me feel lucky for the amount of fruit trees we have right here in our city. This is an organization that goes around working with communities to plant fruit trees so that they can have local, healthy fruit. And we’re fortunate enough to have an urban orchard right here in our backyards — literally.

City Fruit’s goal is to nurture that urban orchard: identifying the city’s fruit trees, educating tree owners, working to create healthier trees, and ensuring the fruit is harvested & used to help our communities. With your help, we’re making that happen.

Jan07

Detroit: Urban farming

Detroit’s had a hard time lately which makes it ripe for people to try new things. Be creative. Do some good. It seems I can’t turn around without reading something about how the citizens of that city are working hard in innovative ways to improve their city. It’s becoming a model for sustainability — specifically urban farming.

A few things I’ve seen recently:

Urban Farming. Taja Sevelle founded this organization and has been doing some pretty cool stuff — and that’s earned her the 2009 Garden Crusaders Award. What started as a local effort now has gardens in cities across America and celebrity endorsements. It’s a model for raising awareness and building support in order to do good.

Hantz Farms. John Hantz is trying to develop an urban farm of about 5,000 acres to provide healthy, local food to Detroit residents. It’s gained all kinds of momentum and support. The best part is it will be a showcase of how technology can turn relatively small spaces in to a wealth of fresh produce.  

Detroit Agriculture Network. They educate & encourage Detroit residents to grow, harvest, and preserve their own produce. Helping build community and provide healthy food.

Jul21

NY Times: Street Farmer

A long, but great article about an organization called Growing Power in Wisconsin. The model they’ve set up is great — and there are elements I think City Fruit will look at closely. I just love to see creative, simple business models that address a variety of problems at the same time.

Here’s a short exerpt:

When you’re producing a quarter of a million dollars’ worth of food in such a small space, soil fertility is everything. Without microbe- and nutrient-rich worm castings (poop, that is), Allen’s Growing Power farm couldn’t provide healthful food to 10,000 urbanites — through his on-farm retail store, in schools and restaurants, at farmers’ markets and in low-cost market baskets delivered to neighborhood pickup points. He couldn’t employ scores of people, some from the nearby housing project; continually train farmers in intensive polyculture; or convert millions of pounds of food waste into a version of black gold.

With seeds planted at quadruple density and nearly every inch of space maximized to generate exceptional bounty, Growing Power is an agricultural Mumbai, a supercity of upward-thrusting tendrils and duct-taped infrastructure. Allen pointed to five tiers of planters brimming with salad greens. “We’re growing in 25,000 pots,” he said. Ducking his 6-foot-7 frame under one of them, he pussyfooted down a leaf-crammed aisle. “We grow a thousand trays of sprouts a week; every square foot brings in $30.” He headed toward the in-ground fish tanks stocked with tens of thousands of tilapia and perch. Pumps send the dirty fish water up into beds of watercress, which filter pollutants and trickle the cleaner water back down to the fish — a symbiotic system called aquaponics. The watercress sells for $16 a pound; the fish fetch $6 apiece.