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New Gleaning Program Exceeds Expectations and 10,000 Pounds of Harvested Fruits

September 16, 2009

Mid-season and in its first year, the Fruits of the City program has proven to be a great success!  Minnesota Project staff and volunteers set a goal of 2,500 pounds of harvested fruit for the first year of the program.  Gleaning event volunteers not only met that goal within the first three gleaning events, but have already surpassed it by over 10,000 pounds!  Thus far, the three gleaning events have yielded more than 12,750 pounds of fresh apples, pears, and plums all donated to local food shelves in the metro area.  And the fruit tree donations and enthusiastic volunteers keep rolling in…

Gleaning events have been held every other weekend since mid-August.  At these events, groups of volunteers harvest fruit trees that have been donated by residents and businesses around the metro area.  When fruit trees are registered with the program, they are mapped and clustered into groups according to geographic location and ripeness of the fruit.  Teams of volunteers are then dispatched to clustered trees.  The fruit is then delivered to nearby food shelves.  With the help of over 63 volunteers, 60 trees in 33 locations have been harvested.  The gleanings usually last about 3 hours and are very casual and lots of fun!

We also had a fantastic gleaning opportunity at the end of August in Rush City, MN.  The Fruits of the City program partnered with Second Harvest Heartland to glean over 200 donated apple trees from a Rush City orchard.  Even with an hour’s drive to the event, over 55 volunteers showed up to harvest 10,004 pounds of State Fair apples!  The apples were delicious, the weather was great, and people had a great time enjoying the outdoors while helping a great cause.

With the enthusiasm of our volunteers and fruit tree owners, we are continuing to plan more gleaning events this season.  If you are interested in participating, please send an email to Anna at localfoods@mnproject.org.  We look forward to getting more fresh fruit to people who need it!

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