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Donate Fresh Food and Build Community: Register your Trees or Volunteer with SLC FruitShare

Every summer, across the valley, fresh fruit goes to waste, falling off of neighborhood trees and rotting on sidewalks and in backyards. The good news is that with an abundance of fruit trees, Salt Lake City is in a unique position to cut down on waste and provide affordable access to healthy food.

That’s how the Fruitshare program was born. Salt Lake City worked with the non-profit Green Urban Lunch Box (GULB) to launch this program several years ago with the goal of reducing food waste and providing healthy fruit to residents in need. SLCgreen has also supported the program financially until it became self-sustaining.

Since then the program has expanded beyond Salt Lake City, to include other areas along the Wasatch Front.

In 2017, volunteers with the Green Urban Lunch Box harvested over 50,000 pounds of fresh, locally grown fruit from local trees. Wow!

But they need your help to do even more.

Fresh Plumbs from the FruitShare

What is the SLC FruitShare?

Instead of losing the fruit to the landfill, the SLC FruitShare will bring volunteers to harvest your fruit for you! If you have a tree or orchard that produces an abundance of fruit each year, you can register you trees and help strengthen our local food system.

Here’s how it works:

  • GULB volunteers harvest the fruit
  • FruitShare participants (the homeowners) will receive one-third of what’s gathered.
  • The other two-thirds is split between the FruitShare volunteers and hunger relief programs.
Green Urban Lunch Box’s Harvest Calendar

Tree Care 101

On top of harvesting the fruit, FruitShare volunteers are available to help maintain FruitShare trees at a low cost. FruitShare services include pruning, thinning, and fertilizing to help make sure the trees stay healthy and produce high quality fruit. The FruitShare program can’t guarantee harvest on every registered tree. However, the FruitShare services includes an option for guaranteed harvest or fallen fruit pick up.

Taking good care of our trees helps everyone. Proper pruning supports tree growth and encourages bigger harvests. As a result, you’re tree will have more to share next season!

The Green Urban Lunch Box

Register Your Tree for 2019 FruitShare

There are currently 2,861 fruit trees registered in the FruitShare program. The registered fruit trees are all less than two stories tall or have more than half of their branches lower than 15 ft. If you are unsure if your fruit tree qualifies, FruitShare volunteers will come do a low-cost assessment.

Join your neighbors and register your tree!

Once your tree is registered, all you have to do is schedule a harvest when your fruit is ready to be picked. GULB provides a handy calendar with guidelines for when to request a harvest.

Don’t Have a Fruit Tree? Volunteer!

In 2018, volunteers contributed 1,091 hours of work harvesting fresh fruit. If you are interested in helping make fresh fruit available to others — and take home some fresh fruit of your own — volunteer for the FruitShare.

Promote Urban Farming and Food Security

Why is this program important?

Salt Lake City and GULB are dedicated to creating a sustainable food system that provides accessible healthy food to everyone in our community. FruitShare helps everyone eat healthier by taking full advantage of the resources in our own backyards.

Urban farming has obvious economic benefits. Indeed, in 2017 GULB saved $98,675 worth of produce from going to the landfill.

Even more significantly, urban farming also helps lower the carbon footprint of our food systems. Food waste contributes to greenhouse gasses. According to the U.N. Food and Agricultural Organization,

Food grown locally also desn’t need to travel as far to reach a consumer; it requires less packaging; and is easier to harvest. These are all important facets toward reducing the carbon footprint of food we eat.

Perhaps most obviously: minimizing food waste is one of the most important things we can do as a community and as consumers to reduce our carbon footprint and to feed hungry people.

“Thirty percent of food is wasted globally across the supply chain, contributing 8 percent of total global greenhouse gas emissions. If food waste were a country, it would come in third after the United States and China in terms of impact on global warming,”

(Washington Post).

The FruitShare program has the added benefit of forging strong connections in our community. With the shared goal of making nutritious food available locally, Salt Lake City, GULB, volunteers, and FruitShare participants demonstrate the power of urban farming to combat food insecurity and lower emissions in our own neighborhoods.

Join us this summer! If you have questions about how to get involved with the SLC FruitShare or other Green Urban Lunch Box programs, call (801) 318-1745 or contact fruitshare@gulb.org.

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