For the past three months, 26 local volunteers have been busy picking spray-free fruit trees in our community for the Nelson Food Cupboard Society’s Harvest Rescue program.
“Ten thousand pounds of fruit was harvested from over 100 trees, which were registered by 66 land owners,” says Loray Alexander, the program co-ordinator.
Harvest Rescue has many benefits, as the harvest is divided into thirds — which goes to the volunteers, the land owner and the customers of the Nelson Food Cupboard.
With a very limited program budget and only three picking ladders, it was the work of dedicated volunteers that made this success possible.
Alexander expresses the hope that more funding for Harvest Rescue becomes available in the future, as it “would allow for a longer picking season and the purchase of an additional ladder and picking bags. I was so impressed and grateful for our volunteers’ hard work, dedication, and high standards.”
Heartfelt thanks go to those who registered their trees, many of whom had bear problems and gave up their portions for the cause. The Baker Street Wednesday Market, local farmers and Natalie’s Fruit Stand offered additional donations of almost 5,000 lbs. of fresh veggies and fruit — another record breaking amount for the program.
“I was overwhelmed by the generosity of our community and all of the fresh produce our customers received,” says Jenny Erickson, the frontline manager at the Nelson Food Cupboard, who facilitated a free canning workshop as part of the program’s educational component.
The Nelson Food Cupboard is a barrier-free emergency food service accessed by around 1,000 individuals per month. The Harvest Rescue program is an integral part of meeting a fresh fruit and vegetable policy — ensuring that customers receive a variety of healthy, nutritious foods.
For more information, please contact the Nelson Food Cupboard at 250-354-1633.