Are you a landowner with trees that are dripping with fruit, but you don’t have time to pick them? Is climbing a ladder getting to be too much? Did that one tree have a bumper crop this year? Do you have more than your family can use? Is your garden overflowing? Would you like to share the bounty with other members of the community? Would you benefit from access to healthy produce, but have no trees or garden of your own? Do you enjoy the simple pleasure of harvesting in a group?
If you answered yes, then Gleaning Project may be for you. The Food Program organizes volunteers to gather to pick surplus crops that are shared between the pickers, the landowners, families in need and the Food Program’s kitchen events. We bring orchard ladders and picking bags and try to gather as much as possible so there’s no waste. A staff member from the Food Program is always present to supervise the pickers and liaise with the landowners, and the Food Program carries insurance that covers our activities on your land.
If you’re interested in harvesting or having us come pick, contact us for more information. Any produce or fruit is appropriate–we love unusual offers!
Similar to gleaning, but with a twist, is the Berry Co-op, which is returning this year at the same south-end site. Thanks to a special arrangement with the landowner, the Food Program organizes community members who will pick either organically-grown tayberries (a cross between a blackberry and a raspberry) or thornless blackberries throughout the summer, with two-thirds of the harvests going to the Galiano Club and the other third going to the pickers. (Last year, Club share berries were sold as a fundraiser, were used in jam-making classes, or were baked in pies for the annual Blackberry Tea.)
Depending on weather and the pace of ripening, co-op members will likely be picking every Tuesday evening (6:30-8pm) and Friday (9-10:30am). We are looking for a commitment of at least three sessions over the course of the summer. At our trial pick we found that a person averaged 6lbs of tayberries in two hours (blackberries may yield more). Based on that rate, a co-op member could expect to take home 2lbs of berries per session.
If you are interested in participating in the berry co-op, please email Colleen as soon as possible at firstname.lastname@example.org or phone #2737 and she will send interested parties a sign-up sheet for dates, with more details to follow.