With food insecurity remaining at high levels, inflating food prices, and unpredictable fruit harvests, nonprofit City Fruit announced that it is expanding its harvest program to serve more people – including in Burien.
City Fruit is outreaching to residents with fruit trees in communities Burien to join its harvest and share their fruit.
City Fruit’s harvest program has served individuals and families in Seattle experiencing food insecurity by providing organic, healthy fruit that is often unavailable at food banks and meal programs. (Most food bank donations are shelf-stable foods.) The harvest team picks good fruit from residential and public trees that may otherwise go to waste and distributes this fruit through partnerships with 30 food banks, meal programs, and elementary schools, and nonprofits. City Fruit also hosts free fruit farm stands at community centers, P-Patches, and farmers markets throughout the season and across the city.
The demand for fruit from local food programs is high. Researchers have tracking impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic on the food needs of Washington households. Their report last month showed levels of food insecurity remained high especially among BIPOC and low income residents, renters, and families with children. With the rise in inflation coupled with the expiration of emergency federal SNAP funding from the pandemic, inventory is down at food banks and meal programs around the state.
City Fruit is also expanding to offset any potential fruit declines from our urban canopy. An abnormally cold and wet spring last year impacted pollination and plant development leading to fruit production being down. With unpredictable weather conditions from climate change City Fruit wants to be proactive about having more trees to harvest from in the future. While City Fruit tree specialists and volunteers have been hard at work pruning to maintain tree health and spur healthy growth, more tree owners are needed this upcoming harvest season to support and expand distribution to food banks and meal programs to the Greater Seattle area.
According to last year’s harvest manager Jordyn Egbert:
“We heard from dozens of tree owners across Seattle that their fruit trees hardly produced any fruit. For some this was the first time in nearly 40 years! In previous years, we’d be able to harvest 300 pounds of plums from a single tree, and in 2022 we were harvesting roughly half that amount, if any, from the same tree.”
To make sure City Fruit can best meet the needs of our food bank and meal programs partners, more treeowners are needed to sign-up to share any abundance of fruit.
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