Author: Tuula Perry
After two years of development, the Neighborhood Fruit Picking Program is changing the way San Jose gleans its fruit trees!
Five eager community members gathered at the Olinder Community Center on March 21st to harvest fruit from local trees. This fruit is donated to local food programs, and helps create a balanced food basket for over 150 families each month. Fruit harvesting is traditionally conducted using a truck, with volunteers traveling from one location to the next by car throughout the morning. However, Garden-to-Table participants can now harvest and distribute fruit completely by bicycle!
Early Spring weather is ideal for cycling, and the G2T volunteers all expressed interest in finding an alternative, environmentally friendly way to glean. Some expressed doubts that a bicycle glean could be as successful as a truck glean. Those fears turned out to be unfounded: our volunteers harvested over 500 pounds of fruit in under three hours!
Garden to Table’s first ever Zero-Emission Gleaning event was led by Program Coordinator Tuula Perry. Since coming into the position in August 2014, she has been determined that fruit harvests could be accomplished by bike. Her vision was made possible through the support and collaboration of local sustainable landscaping business Bay Maples, who lent their cargo bike for the day.
Zero-emission gleans are not only fun, but work to decrease dependence on harmful fossil fuel infrastructure that pollutes city air quality and rising global temperatures. Graham Stitchman, the Fruit Picking Program’s Founder, expressed excitement about the direction the harvests are taking. “Gleaning by bicycle is a step in the right direction to fulfilling Garden to Table’s mission, ’to create a more local sustainable food system’. We are all concerned about the environment so it would be terrific to harvest by bicycle on a regular basis.” Indeed, harvesting by bicycle offers a more sustainable way to capture the reduce the waste of fruit in our neighborhoods!
If you are looking for a meaningful way to give back to your community, join us for our next zero-emission harvest on April 15th from 5:00pm – 7:30pm. Contact the Fruit Picking Coordinator, Tuula Perry at firstname.lastname@example.org.