Describe your idea.
Each year, thousands of pounds of fruit growing in the city go to waste because most property owners have neither the time, equipment nor expertise to harvest it. The League of Urban Canners’ growing army of community volunteers locates fruit trees, contacts owners about harvesting, and then preserves the fruit through drying or canning. LUrC returns 10% of the preserves to the owner and divides the remainder among the harvesters and canners. To date, we have harvested over 900 pounds of apricots, plums, mulberries, cherries and apples from just 18 of our 180 potential harvest sites.
How will you use your grant?
At this point we do not have a well defined budget. This is our first real harvest season and since the fruit won’t wait, we are spending most of our time harvesting, canning and learning. That said, we have financial needs in the following categories.
Canning equipment and materials:
- Canning pots and accessories
- Canning jars and lids
- Pool poles
- Harvesting claws
Why and to whom is your project important?
Reducing our carbon footprint: The carbon footprint of food is estimated at about 20% of each household’s total carbon footprint. The carbon footprint from food harvested in our own neighborhood is almost nothing. In addition to human powered harvesting, we also get to and from harvest sites by bike, bus and foot.
Changing our relationship to food: While local produce has become more available, we tend to gorge on local food for only three months of the year often wasting what we can’t immediately consume. Learning from our grandparents, LUrC preserves the season’s harvest so that the community can enjoy locally grown food in a more balanced manner year round with less waste.
Connecting our community: Through our collective harvesting and canning, we are bringing together elderly immigrants, young families and college kids who all share an interest in food and our environment. Together we are sharing the city through farming, harvesting and food processing.
What is the expected status of your project by the time of the next Feast?
In three months, we expect to have collected over 1500 pounds of fruit with more than 50 direct participants. We also expect to have a plan for improving fruit production of local trees through pruning and soil management.