Posts Tagged ‘steward’

Dec02

#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 natalie@cityfruit.org 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.

Oct28

Wrapping Up the Harvest Season with Big Brothers Big Sisters of Puget Sound

Two weekends ago, we closed out our largest harvest season to date with a Harvest Celebration and Cider Press event at Amy Yee Tennis Center with City Councilmembers Sally Clark and Tom Rasmussen, City Fruit staff and board, and over 30 hardworking volunteers — many from Big Brothers Big Sisters of Puget Sound. To top off the event, we unveiled a new sign at Amy Yee that describes the orchard and its history and provides a map with all of the fruit trees. The sign was made possible by funding from the Washington Department of Natural Resources (DNR).

In case you haven’t heard via our newsletter or social media outlets, this year we harvested over 28,000 pounds of fruit that would have otherwise fallen to the ground to rot. Since 1 in 5 children in the greater Seattle area go to bed hungry every night, we must not waste free and available resources. City Fruit’s work is helping to solve a piece of the food insecurity problem so many in our community face every day.

With 35 fruit trees, Amy Yee Tennis Center is one of many historic orchards found in Seattle’s ever-expanding urban landscape. Public spaces like the orchard at Amy Yee are tended by hundreds of volunteers throughout the year (not just during harvest season), and this final event was a celebration of our volunteer friends old and new. We were so fortunate to welcome Big Brothers Big Sisters on this day, and to be able to offer an opportunity for the youth from the organization to explore their natural environment by harvesting apples to eat and press into fresh cider. It was an experience many of them had not had before and will not soon forget.

Below are some great snapshots of our final large harvest event. If you or someone you know is involved at a local organization that would like to partner with City Fruit at the many public spaces we steward, please e-mail our Community Outreach Coordinator at melanie@cityfruit.org.

IMG_2052 (1)

IMG_2055 (1)

IMG_2056 (1)

IMG_2053 (1)

Hazel starts the Amy Yee event

Amy Yee Sign Unveiling

 

 Melanie Peters is the AmeriCorps VISTA Community Outreach Coordinator with City Fruit. She can be reached at melanie@cityfruit.org.
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.