September 18, 2013 - 4:31 PM
KAMLOOPS – It's a project not unlike other fruit tree picking projects seen around the Thompson Okanagan except this one is being undertaken with the hopes of connecting groups already in the community and of being a model for other projects in the near future.
The goal of the Gleaning Abundance Project, aside from collecting leftover and unwanted produce, is to document the entire process so others can view the project's evolution from start to finish.
Only two weeks in and the project is definitely looking successful. More than 40 volunteers have signed up to pick fruit from the more than 40 trees registered across the city and more than 200 pounds of fruit had been collected. Krystal Williams, program coordinator, says she expects to double that amount by the end of week three.
Williams began the program after seeing a need for a more organized and structured initiative.
“(The program) was inspired from need more than anything, there's a lot of fruit that falls to the ground in Kamloops," she says. “I would like to see it become a fixture of the structure of Kamloops, not unlike the food bank.”
When she heard of the Community Food Action Initiative grant she applied and was approved for a three year project. She plans on focusing on public awareness of the program this year while in year two the focus will be on documenting the process and starting up social enterprise initiatives to make the program self sustainable in the future.
Williams says she would like to offer canning and fruit tree care workshops next year as part of the social enterprise side of the program but until then she is focusing on trying to get more pick leaders. She requires volunteers with more experience who can help train volunteer pickers out in the field so she can focus on the documentation aspect.
Right now the project uses a one-thirds model with one-third of the produce collected going to the homeowner, another third to the volunteer picker and the remaining third to local food groups like the food bank or soup kitchens. Once the social enterprise element is introduced a third will go that part of the program while the last third will be split between homeowners and volunteers.
Many varieties of pears and apples are among the fruits being collected by the Gleaning Abundance Project.
(JENNIFER STAHN /InfoTel Multimedia)
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News from © InfoTel News Ltd, 2013