Local group harvests, donates neighborhood fruit

By Allison Espiritu
Seattle, WA (August 27, 2009)- Phinney-Greenwood Sustainable Harvest, a branch of City Fruit, has collected more than 2,600 pounds of fruit from surrounding resident trees within their neighborhood. “We’ve got a group of about 30 volunteers and they’ve really been stepping it up and harvesting the fruit,” Jen Mullen of Phinney-Greenwood Sustainable Harvest said.

City Fruit is a nonprofit, grass roots organizations that started last December. Volunteers are involved in taking care of fruit trees, have an interest in tree care and harvest large amounts of fruit in Seattle, said Gail Savina, executive director of City Fruit.
Because most residential tree owners can’t- or don’t- use all of the fruit produced on their properties, much of it falls to the ground and rots, according to City Fruit’s Web site. In addition, much of the fruit grown in urban landscapes is infested with preventable pests. “There are a lot of problems in trees,” Savina said. “Much fruit is wasted and a lot of them aren’t good because they’re diseased.” She said City Fruit was created to help promote fruit in all different aspects, to care for, help harvest, share, and extend the life of fruit.
Mullen got involved with Sustainable Harvest in Phinney-Greenwood because of her interest in local gardening and the local food movement. She is also no stranger to volunteer work in the city. “(City Fruit) was a perfect match for me to move into meshing two worlds of people’s access to food and using our resources wisely,” Mullen said.
Last year, there were about 15 families in the Phinney-Greenwood neighborhood who were involved with the harvesting. Mullen said this year they have up to 50. “Everyday we get emails and phone calls from people who are excited to donate their fruit and don’t know what to do with it all,” Mullen said. “People are really generous knowing that their fruit is going to food banks and senior living (facilities) that need it.”
The response from Phinney-Greenwood’s generous donation of produce has been positive. “The feedback from food banks is that people are excited to be getting fresh harvested fruit,” Mullen said.
As of this week, Phinney-Greenwood Sustainable Harvest has completed 29 harvests and have four more this week. “Fruits are just pouring in,” Mullen said. “Plums, pears (…) homeowner’s are saying fruit is coming in earlier this year because of the hot, dry summer.”
To help keep track of fruit before it’s gone bad and can’t be harvested, Mullen goes out each week and scouts the trees on her list. She then sets up times and lets volunteers know where they should focus the picking. “The idea is keeping it local and it works well for people who travel and transport food by keeping it in the neighborhood,” Mullen said.
To get involved contact phinney@cityfruit.org.
Related Resources:
Ballard News Tribune- Local group harvests, donates neighborhood fruit
City Fruit