The New Orleans Fruit Tree Project!
I’d like to tell you about an exciting program available to your friends and neighbors. The New Orleans Fruit Tree Project is dedicated to getting fresh, local produce to those who need it most and we do that by offering free harvesting to fruit tree owners in New Orleans, Metairie and the West Bank. The fruit we harvest is donated to organizations like Second Harvest Food Bank, Covenant House and the Latino Farmers Cooperative. Last year we collected over 3,000 lbs of citrus fruit from residents and harvested in six different neighborhoods! This year our goal is to harvest 10,000 lbs and we are looking for more fruit tree owners to help us reach our goal.
Of course, fruit tree owners are welcome to a portion of their harvest. We supply our own equipment and volunteers and work around tree owner’s schedules.
If you or any of your friends or neighbors have fruit that is going to waste, please let them know about this service. And please feel free to mention us in newsletters and on websites! If you have any questions, concerns or comments please do not hesitate to contact me either by email or phone. We look forward to harvesting in your neighborhoods soon!
NOLA Fruit Tree Project
And please check out the write-up in theatlantic.com!
The New Orleans Fruit Tree Project
The New Orleans Fruit Tree Project is a sustainable, community-based solution to food insecurity in the greater New Orleans area. Using a tree owner registration and volunteer time, The New Orleans Fruit Tree Project harvests fruits from private residential property in the city of New Orleans that would otherwise go to waste. The harvested produce is donated to local organizations that feed the hungry.
The New Orleans Fruit Project began in January 2011 as a program of Hollygrove Market & Farm. With just a 12-foot ladder, a couple of fruit pickers and a few dedicated volunteers, NOFTP harvested over 3,000 pounds of fruit from six New Orleans neighborhoods and one orchard in Belle Chasse during the 2011 Citrus Season.
January 2012 marked NOFTP’s second Citrus Season and a 10,000-pound goal was set. With the support of the Wisner Donation, a grant made available through the City of New Orleans, NOFTP was able to purchase more equipment and accomplish more harvests. From January to March 2012, NOFTP performed 26 urban harvests, 3 orchard gleanings, worked with over 35 volunteers and harvested over 10,000 pounds of fruit!
How it works
Fruit tree owners register their trees and notify NOFTP when their fruit is ready to be picked. NOFTP organizes a group of volunteers to come and collect the fruit, which is then donated, to organizations that feed those in need.
The New Orleans Fruit Tree Project aims to meet these objectives:
- Empowering residents of New Orleans to help feed their neighbors and utilizing fresh, local produce that would otherwise go to waste
- Increase the access of fresh, local produce to those who are most in need
- Provide an educational opportunity for volunteers by teaching the proper techniques of fruit harvesting and the overall importance of creating healthy systems of sustainable, cost-free ways of obtaining healthy foods
The New Orleans Fruit Tree Project operates through the generosity of tree owners who donate their bounty for harvesting. All trees are registered by their owners and harvested only upon request. We work with tree owners to assess fruit ripeness, site accessibility and schedule the harvest at the convenience of the owner. Tree owners are encouraged to join in the fun or can leave the work to us. Tree owners are welcome to a portion of each harvest or can choose to donate it all.
The New Orleans Fruit Tree Project recognizes these organizations for their continued support:
Carrollton-Hollygrove Community Development Corporation
Propeller: A Force for Social Innovation
Pitch NOLA 2012- Community Solutions 3rd Place Award Recipient
New Orleans Hash House Harriers Red Dress Run
Tulane University Center for Public Service
New Orleans Area Habitat for Humanity
Hollygrove Market and Farm
Second Harvest Food Bank
Tulane Community Health Center
Share your fruit by Melinda Shelton
My backyard Meyer lemon and Satsuma orange trees are heavy with fruit, which I’m sharing with co-workers, students and neighbors. Based on what I’m seeing throughout the city, we’re having a bumper citrus crop.
Residents with fruit trees can “recycle” rather than waste Nature’s bounty by calling—and volunteering with—the New Orleans Fruit Free Project. Program manager Megan Nuismer said volunteers will pick—yes, pick—fruit on trees in New Orleans, Metairie and on the West Bank. Owners register their trees with the program, and a picking schedule is set. The project provides equipment, and owners can keep some of the picked fruit.
“The fruit we harvest is donated to organizations like Second Harvest Food Bank, Covenant House and the Latino Farmers Cooperative,” Nuismer said. “Last year, we collected over 3,000 pounds of citrus fruit from residents and harvested in six different neighborhoods.”
The group wants to harvest 10,000 pounds this year, so more owners and volunteers are needed, Nuismer said.
For more information, Nuismer can be reached at [email protected] or call 616.581.8488.