Last night I attended the launch for Fruit Connect from Fruit Share. Fools and Horses, my home away from home, hosted the launch. Fruit Share is the brain child of Getty Stewart. I’ve known Getty for over four years now. She was one of the people I got to know during the early days of the MB FoodBloggers group on Facebook. Getty always makes interesting and informative presentations.
Besides that, events and ideas that connect people through food, are one of Dining With Donald’s favourite things. There are two added bonuses: One is that Fruit Connect combats food waste. Two, through sharing with community groups it provides much needed healthy food to many who may not be able to afford it.
Learning About Fruit Connect:
The first part of the evening gave people the opportunity to wander around, get to know each other and sample some terrific food. A variety of fruit, cheese along with bannock and a variety of jams. The centrepiece of the food was a Saskatoon Berry pie, baked by one of the members of the Fruit Share board.
Fruit Connect Presentation
About an hour in, there was a presentation on Fruit Share and Fruit Connect. Getty started off by telling her own story and how Fruit Share got started. Walking around her neighbourhood she felt distress at the amount of fruit going to waste as it lay in people’s yards. Shortly afterwards, she became aware of a program in Edmonton call Operation Fruit Rescue. If only, she thought, someone would start something similar in Winnipeg. Eventually she found someone, by the name of Getty Stewart, and Fruit Share Winnipeg was born.
The purpose of Fruit Share is to allow people who don’t want or are unable to harvest the fruit in their yards to connect with people who are willing to do so. The harvest is then divided three ways. One third goes to the owners of the fruit trees. One third goes to the volunteer pickers. The final third goes to a community organization to help them with their food needs.
The first year there were only about 20 people involved in the project. Six years later, it has grown to include 132 volunteer pickers, 120 growers, and over 80 harvests. These harvests generated over 4 tonnes of fruit. In the early years, the numbers of people signed up were higher, but it became apparent that most didn’t actually participate. As a result Fruit Share introduced a cheap membership fee of $10.75 annually. This fee is not so much as to be prohibitive, but enough to discourage people from signing up and never participating. Fruit Share also finds ways to help those for whom even this is too much.
Making Fruit Connect Work
This whole procedure sounds complicated and it is. That’s why the small fee, and that’s why Fruit Connect is here. Fruit Share is working with the Canadian Internet Registration Authority (CIRA). They are the people behind the .ca you see on websites. They provided grant money to help the Fruit Connect website get up and ready.
Of course connecting people needs a good connector. Here Fruit Share turned to Tactica Interactive. This local firm has designed an easy to use site. Simply sign up, log in, and you can easily browse around and find what picks are available. Pay the $10.75 and you will have access to all the site’s features. This is one of the best designed sites I’ve dealt with.
As I mentioned earlier 1/3 of each pick goes to a community group. The website lists a dozen organizations that are currently signed up. They also provide the opportunity for new groups to add their names to the list. If you have more fruit than you can use. If you can’t afford to buy fruit, but would love to procure some through sweat equity, or you are a community organization in need of fruit, check out Fruit Share and Fruit Connect.