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.
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.
This week, SLCgreen FruitShare partner The Green Urban Lunch Box and Mountain West Hard Cider are inviting volunteers to help press locally harvested apples into the second edition of The Green Urban Lunch Box Hard Cider.
The collaboration between the local non-profit and local business began last year and was a natural solution to the problem of what to do with fruit that’s not high enough quality for eating or donating, but is perfect for juice. What a creative way to minimize food waste!
Harvesting about 9,000 pounds of fruit from 50 various locations across the Salt Lake Valley and even a bit beyond, The Green Urban Lunch Box pressed approximately 350 gallons of juice in 2016. A crew of six staff members and two faithful volunteers spent two 12-hour days pressing apples, while almost 400 volunteers put in more than 1,500 hours to pick fruit that contributed to this juice. Read more
Salt Lake City works in partnership with The Green Urban Lunch Box, a local nonprofit organization aimed to “empower people to engage in local food production by using the resources available in their community” to operate FruitShare. Volunteers help pick fruit from residents’ registered trees, then distribute the harvest 3 ways:
1/3 goes to homeowners, 1/3 goes to volunteers, 1/3 goes to hungerrelief (Utah Food Bank, local food pantries, shelters, health clinics, and anti-hunger organizations)
Salt Lake City is proud to partner with Green Urban Lunch Box (GULB) to provide the SLC FruitShare program, which aims to feed the community while reducing food waste and utilizing neglected resources.
Each season, as fruit is ready to be harvested at the homes of registered fruit tree owners, groups of volunteers are organized to go out and harvest. The harvested yield is distributed between the homeowners, volunteers, and local food banks and other community agencies.
The Neighborhood Hub Leaders will fulfill the vital role of recruiting, training and supporting volunteers in their neighborhood. Each leader will be primarily responsible for organizing and overseeing fruit tree thinning and harvesting events within their specified hub, ensuring that all of the registered fruit trees in that region are harvested in a timely manner. While this position requires independent initiative, the leaders will receive supervision and support from Green Urban Lunch Box.
We are in great need for volunteers this Saturday! SLCgreen will hold a FruitShare Event on May 17th from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.
Volunteer teams will help thin fruit on apricot trees in the Sugar House and East Bench neighborhoods. Thinning fruit will help the trees grow strong, healthy fruit throughout the rest of the season and allow us to come back later this year and pick a greater yield.
No experience is necessary – training will be done with volunteers on site.
Salt Lake City’s FruitShare program is growing leaps and bounds! Last year the program collected over 10,000 pounds of fresh local fruit from residential trees and put it into the hands of individuals with low access to healthy produce.
Even though the temperatures are brisk and your trees are bare, now is the time to think about participating in FruitShare in 2014!
Here is a timeline of 2014 FruitShare events and opportunities:
February – March:
Fruit Tree Pruning — If you’re interested in having your tree(s) pruned/trimmed, please send an email by February 15th and you will be added to our trimming list. Please note, we may not be able to get to some trees due to resources and or eligibility. Adding your tree to our list does not guarantee trimming service. We will inform you whether or not you will receive trimming service. A suggested donation of $25 is requested for this service to help cover the cost of providing this service.
March: Fruit Tree Pruning Workshop — March 29, 2014 from 10 a.m.-1 p.m.
Join Wasatch Community Gardens and Tree Utah for a lesson on fruit tree care. In this hands-on workshop you will learn about how to use your pruning tools. And, you will learn all about pruning and caring for your fruit trees. Attending this workshop or another fruit tree pruning class will make your tree(s) a priority on our harvest list.
May – June:
Thinning — Larger healthier fruit comes from coaxing the tree to put more energy into fewer of them – and therefore pulling off good fruit when they are small. Fruit thinning channels more of a tree’s attention to the fruit that remains. Thinning lessens weight on branches and helps manage pests and diseases that prefer fruit bunched close together. Thin the crop when developing fruits are about an inch in diameter. We need volunteers to help thin fruit trees. If you are interested in volunteering, please send us an email.