Harvesting backyard produce, a win win win

Sandy Tiffin tutor of Meander and Gem Shayler-Appleton of Kimberley at the compost making workshop

Harvesting backyard produce, a win win win

OCTOBER 2015 | Joanne Eisemann

DELORAINE HOUSE has been working on a social enterprise project to help people have access to affordable fresh food.

While it is early days in its development, the aim is to set up a food co-operative based on harvesting fruit and nuts from backyard trees.

There is abundant and often wasted fruit growing on trees in backyard gardens where the owner is unable to either harvest or use all of the fruit. By putting together volunteer pickers with willing fruit tree owners, everyone will benefit.

The harvest will be shared between the owner of the tree and the volunteer pickers, with a portion to go into other food programmes or co-operative cooking sessions.

Not all of the harvested produce is going to be A-grade, so turning the seconds into jams, chutneys, juice or vinegar will be a component of the co-operative too. Because bringing people together to cook and eat is also part of the social inclusion aims of the project.

These ideas are not entirely new – this is how people have historically harvested their produce in villages all around the world, calling on their friends and neighbours to lend a hand and share in the bounty. Translating this into a social enterprise framework based on local produce is what is being worked on now.

Similar projects in other locations include ‘Growing Abundance’ in Castlemaine and ‘Street Harvest’ in Wodonga.

If you want to know more about the project, or want to be involved, contact Julie Hargreaves via fsseproject@ hotmail.com or 0409 936907, or call by the Deloraine House on a Tuesday.

With less than half of the Meander Valley population eating the recommended serves of fruit per day, and only 7% eating their veggies, yet with a quarter of residents classed as obese – there is a clear need for some conversations about what we eat and where it comes from. Watch out for more information about the MV Local Food Task Force

 Mike Moores