Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Sharing a Village Harvest

C. Coimbra Photo
“Village Harvest is a nonprofit volunteer organization in the greater San Francisco Bay Area which harvests fruit from backyards and small orchards, then passes it along to local food agencies to feed the hungry.  We also provide education on fruit tree care, harvesting, and food preservation.”
The group’s 2013 total harvest weighed in at 245,419 lbs.
According to the non-profit’s website:
Our mission is to bring together neighbors and community organizations to provide food for the hungry, preserve our agricultural heritage and skills, and promote sustainable use of urban resources.  We do this through the following:
Backyard Fruit Harvesting and Harvesting Coordination.  VH organizes and coordinates volunteer harvesting teams to pick fruit and distribute it directly to community charitable organizations. We maintain computerized lists of homeowners who call and ask for help harvesting their trees, of volunteers interested in assisting, and of organizations who are able to redistribute the donated fruit to people in need.
Homeowner Education and Information.  VH provides information and referrals at no charge on fruit tree care, harvesting instruction, and where to take their excess fruit. VH maintains a list of local organizations who accept and use fruit (or vegetables) directly from homeowners, and we encourage homeowners who are physically capable of harvesting their own fruit to do so.
Food Preservation Education and Resources.  VH volunteers provide training sessions, tastings, and recipes on using home-grown fruit to create jams and other preserved foods.  Educational sessions have been held for both adults and for younger volunteers such as 4H clubs.  Volunteers use a small quantity of donated fruit to make preserves which are sold at crafts fairs and other nonprofit organizations to raise funds.

Orchard Preservation.  Using our expertise in caring for abandoned or lightly maintained orchards, we assist public and private orchard owners in restoring the health and sustainable use of their orchards, with excess fruit provided to the hungry.

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