Richmond Fruit Recovery Program collects excess produce for food bank

With Richmond’s harvest season well underway, the Richmond Food Security Society is calling on fruit tree owners to use its fruit recovery program to gather excess produce.

The Richmond Fruit Recovery Program coordinates volunteers to collect unused fruit from residential fruit trees and bushes. All produce is then split between the owner, the volunteers and the Richmond Food Bank.

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“It’s going really well, we’re really excited,” Sarina Clay-Smith, project coordinator of the Fruit Recovery Program told the Richmond News about this year’s picking season.

Clay-Smith explained that picks can range in size, depending on how many fruit trees there are. Recently, volunteers picked over 250 kilograms of apples. Volunteer crews will also pick pears, blueberries, crab apples, grapes, figs, plums or “anything that grows locally in Richmond,” said Clay-Smith.

The recovery program began in 2001 as the Richmond Fruit Tree Sharing Project, then The Sharing Farm and was most recently taken over by the Richmond Food Security Society. Each year, the recovered fruit helps the food bank stock up on much-needed produce helps keep rats, rabbits, insects and other pests at bay.

Currently, the Fruit Recovery Program has approximately 30 volunteers and tries to run two fruit picks per week.

“If any owner wants to get involved, we’re always looking for more,” said Clay-Smith.

Visit the Richmond Food Security’s website to register as a fruit tree owner or to sign up as a volunteer.  

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