If you have fruit trees and are unable to harvest them on your own, the Coombs Farmers Institute has started a program that will be able to help you.
The CFI has launched the Oceanside Gleaning Program, geared toward harvesting fruit trees that include apples, plums and pears.
“The Coombs Farmers Institute identified the need to harvest excess bounty of local fruit trees from homeowners within our regional boundaries,” said Aura Bell, co-ordinator of the program. “It reduces fruit waste, increases community building skills in the preservation of fruit and caring of fruit trees, and implement best practices for pest management.”
Bell said there are homeowners not able to pick all the fruits from their trees.
“Our gleaning program helps reduce food waste and helps redistribute food to the community by leveraging our volunteers to harvest their fresh fruits that would otherwise go unpicked and rot in the field,” said Bell. “That’s what we want to prevent the fruit waste.”
The gleaned fruits, said Bell, will be shared among the owners, pickers and local groups and charities in the community.
“Once somebody let us know that they have a tree for donation, the homeowner keeps one-third, the pickers who are members of the 4-H Club and also from the institute, they keep a third and a third goes to charity,” said Bell.
The program also aims to reduce conflict between human and bears said Bell, who pointed out that in some municipalities like the Town of Qualicum Beach have bylaws that fine homeowners for not picking the fruits from their trees.
The areas the program will help include Lantzville, Nanoose Bay, Parksville, Qualicum Beach, Coombs, Errington, Hilliers, Whiskey Creek, Spider Lake, Horne Lake and Bowser.