Porirua good­will ripe for pick­ing

Kapi-Mana News - - NEWS - By MATTHEW DAL­LAS

Julie Har­ris wants to pick your fruit.

The Tawa woman has vol­un­teered as lo­cal co-or­di­na­tor for Community Fruit Har­vest­ing, a group set up to share pro­duce that would oth­er­wise rot on the ground.

To kick-start ac­tiv­ity, Ms Har­ris is call­ing for peo­ple with un­picked fruit trees to get in touch so the char­ity can help the hun­gry.

Ms Har­ris an­nounced her in­volve­ment with the scheme last week, just as na­tional me­dia were pay­ing close at­ten­tion to child poverty and the in­abil­ity of many fam­i­lies to pro­vide break­fast and lunches for their kids.

She told Kapi-Mana News it was eye-open­ing how many Ki­wis were strug­gling to make ends meet.

‘‘It’s pen­e­trat­ing into the mid­dle classes.’’

Al­though the fruit har­vest­ing scheme has a nar­row field of fo­cus, Ms Har­ris hopes it can play its part.

‘‘I am dis­mayed at the child poverty is­sues oc­cur­ring in this coun­try, so I wanted to do some­thing that I felt I could make a dif­fer­ence.’’

Community Fruit North Welling­ton will cover John­sonville, Tawa, Porirua and the Kapiti Coast, ex­tend­ing the reach of the ex­ist­ing Welling­ton op­er­a­tion.

“There is so much un­tapped op­por­tu­nity in this area, with many old houses with fruit trees in their gar­dens,” says Ms Har­ris.

Al­though most fruit is not ready to pick un­til the au­tumn months, Ms Har­ris wanted to es­tab­lish a data­base of res­i­dents with fruit trees, happy to con­trib­ute.

Ev­ery­one wins from the ini­tia­tive, she says. The tree own­ers don’t have rot­ting fruit in their gar­den; those in need re­ceive a help­ing hand, and vol­un­teers find it sat­is­fy­ing to work with like-minded peo­ple to help re­duce poverty.

“Any­one who is happy to don a set of gloves, pick fruit or climb a lad­der is wel­come.

‘‘I also wel­come vol­un­teers happy to take a bag of fruit [and] add value to it by mak­ing de­li­cious jam or chut­ney, and then get those home­made good­ies into fruit boxes.”

Community Fruit North Welling­ton is also seek­ing do­na­tions of su­gar, jars, boxes, crates, large bags, and of­fers of stor­age space.

Peo­ple in north Welling­ton and Porirua with a fruit tree avail­able for pick­ing next sea­son or who want to vol­un­teer can email Julie Har­ris on pick­fruit­nth­welling­ton@ gmail.com.

Photo: FAIR­FAX

Crunch time: Nathan Mar­shall helps with pick­ing for the Community Fruit Har­vest­ing scheme. Lo­cal co­or­di­na­tor Julie Har­ris hopes to get plenty of Porirua and Tawa fam­i­lies signed up for the next pick­ing sea­son.

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