Forty million, one hundred and thirty-five thousand, five thousand.
Each year, in America, we waste about forty million pounds of backyard fruit while In Contra Costa County alone 135,000 people need food assistance each month.
The Urban Farmers project was formed to convert waste to food. Last year over 1,100 volunteers harvested 147,000 pounds of fresh fruit for donation to hunger relief agencies. If you say this is a drop of water in the ocean, you will get no argument from us. Our goal is to convert this trickle into a stream. Want to take part?
Last year about 40% of the trees that were registered on our website were not harvested. What's the problem? There are two issues:
Fruit is Ripe - Most people register their trees when they know they have fruit to donate, meaning, we learn about them when the fruit is ripe and falling. As an all volunteer organization, we plan our harvests two to three weeks ahead of time, and that is not fast enough to rescue ripe fruit.
No Leader, no harvest - The second problem is while we have an abundance of fruit and an abundance of volunteers, we are short of harvest leaders.
How Can You Help
We want to fix this problem. To achieve the goal of providing more fruit for more people we need volunteer Harvest Leaders. This position comes in two forms:
Local Leader - It takes three hours to learn the process of harvesting backyard fruit. Once trained we loan you the equipment you need for the job. Finally, when a tree with ripe fruit is registered in your neighborhood, we will notify you (and if necessary other helpers), and if you can, you go and harvest that tree.
Harvest Leader - Each harvest is lead by a Harvest Leader who manages a group of 8 to 12 volunteers for three hours. This team will visit 1 to 4 backyards and harvest several hundred pounds of fruit. During the training session, you will also learn how to lead a group by helping volunteers:
understand their roles and responsibilities
how to use the equipment properly
how to harvest and inspect the fruit
To learn more, please visit Harvest Leader Training page.
Want to know about 5,000?
We sometimes ask teenage volunteers if they can guess how many different types of apples can grow in the United States. The purpose of this question is to help teens understand how disconnect we are from our food.
The typical guess we get is between 5 to 10. According to Wikipedia out of 7,500 different types of apple, about 5,000 grow in the United States. Many backyard fruit trees are antique cultivars; The fruit is not pretty, has a short shelf life and tastes amazing. You won’t find them in stores,
We look forward to working with you.
You can learn more about The Urban Farmers at www.theurbanfarmers.org.