FruitShare Barrie has completed its second successful picking season.The project was launched in 2013 and had a successful pilot year. FruitShare is a project of Living Green Environmental Action Barrie in partnership with Transition Barrie and the Simcoe Muskoka District Health Unit.
The community has been very supportive of this initiative. Nineteen homeowners donated their trees and thirty-two volunteers helped to pick apples, pears, plums and grapes. Five volunteers took leadership roles by becoming ShareBosses (supervisors). ShareBosses assisted the Coordinator by transporting equipment, supervising picks, ensuring safety, and delivering fruit to the Food Bank.
Generous homeowners and volunteer pickers only took what they could use and donated the rest of their portion, resulting in 80% of the fruit going to people who need it more. A total of 2710 pounds of fruit was harvested and 2180 pounds was donated to the Food Bank and to schools for breakfast and lunch clubs. Students at Hillcrest Public school made applesauce and muffins in the classroom using apples harvested from The Clarkson Pub downtown Barrie.
The volunteers and homeowners were very positive about the process. Many commented that they didn’t like to see food wasted when others could use it. The Food Bank was pleased with the fresh produce, as this is an expensive item to add to the food baskets.
FruitShare received equipment donations from local hardware stores. Thanks to Bradford Greenhouse Garden Gallery, Rona, Home Hardware, Canadian Tire, Costco and Featherlite for the generous donations. The additional equipment increased the picking efficiency, resulting in more fruit harvested per pick. FruitShare also obtained grant funding and hired a coordinator who ensured the season ran smoothly.
Fundraising will continue to be a priority in 2015 in order to hire another coordinator and keep the momentum going. FruitShare will also be seeking to network with tree care experts, such as arborists, to assist homeowners with tree pruning and general care.
The media coverage was very positive and was influential in gaining awareness of FruitShare in Barrie. FruitShare is pleased to report that there were no injuries or property damage on any pick.
The FruitShare steering committee would like to thank their partners, donors and volunteers that supported this second successful year in providing fresh produce for those in need.