The secret blackberryer

by zoe | 15.05.2014 | fruit , trees , fruits | 0 comments | Rating: 1 votes

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It’s time for some modern day Robin Hoods.

I can still remember the blackberry harvest in the south of England. It was like nothing I’d ever seen before. Lanes and lanes of hedgerows weighed down by ripe fruits. I would get off my bike and creep round the back of the bushes where I couldn’t be seen from the road, and then I would eat until the juices were dribbling down my chin and I was full to bursting point.

I’m sure my story isn’t uncommon. Although most people who do this are about 8. I was 22.

It’s not just in the countryside where you can benefit from free fruit. There is a surprising amount of fruit hidden amongst our towns and cities that simply goes to waste. In recognition of this, urban harvesting groups from Germany to the US are getting together to make community members aware of locally available food resources. Some groups harvest fruit for themselves, others are modern-day Robin Hoods who collect the fruit and distribute it to those who need it the most.

Urban harvesting has the potential to meet real need in the recession-hit UK, where about 3 million people are malnourished at any time, and where demand for foodbanks nearly tripled last year - 913,138 people were given emergency food in 2013-14. The good news is that there are already some great urban harvesting projects in existence, including:

  • The London Orchard Project is identifying and mapping existing fruit trees in the capital (as well as setting up new community orchards) – including a project working with a Transition Town group to set up Hackney Harvest.
  • Grow Sheffield volunteers harvest fruit from across the city and distribute it to the local community, with the aim of reconnecting communities with their local food resources. They also plant fruit trees and offer workshops on everything from grafting to chutney making.
  • Abundance Manchester picks surplus and unwanted fruit from gardens and unwanted trees around South Manchester and redistributes it to local groups and communities.

It’s time to get out from behind the bushes, wash your hands of the blackberry juice and start redistributing our cities’ fruity wealth to those who need it most.

Photo credit: botterli / Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 2.0 Generic (CC BY-NC-SA 2.0)

Written by zoe

I think that I shall never see A poem lovely as a tree - Joyce Kilmer (1913)

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