Har­vest­ing the fruits of en­deav­our

The Tribune (NZ) - - COMMUNITY - BY MADZ BATACHEL and HE­LEN LEHNDORF – Madz BatachEl is the co­or­di­na­tor of Com­mu­nity Fruit Har­vest.

It’s been an epic au­tumn for Com­mu­nity Fruit Har­vest Manawatu. As word of our ac­tiv­i­ties spread, great op­por­tu­ni­ties have come our way. Our vol­un­teers have res­cued lit­er­ally tonnes of ex­cess ap­ples, pears, pota­toes and pump­kins from farms and or­chards around the area. This pro­duce has gone to fam­i­lies who need food.

The big­gest event, har­vest­ing ap­ples and pears, drew 60 vol­un­teers, and some teach­ers brought stu­dents along to help pick as an op­por­tu­nity to help the com­mu­nity, and get amongst food pro­duc­tion. There were groups of preschool chil­dren, a spe­cial needs tran­si­tion class, and a class of mi­grant stu­dents learn­ing English.

We have in­creased the num­ber of dis­tri­bu­tion points for food to be shared in the city – Roslyn li­brary and Help­ing Hands Manawatu have given away trail­er­loads of food in the past cou­ple of weeks. Food has also been dis­trib­uted to Te Paatik­i­tiki, Te Whare Koha, The Legacy Cen­tre, Te Aroha Noa, Bulls In­for­ma­tion Cen­tre, var­i­ous schools and kinder­gartens, Sal­va­tion Army Food­bank and St Vin­cent de Paul, among oth­ers.

We have worked closely with Just Zilch, who have helped with find­ing vol­un­teers, trans­port­ing, stor­ing and dis­tribut­ing the pro- duce. With­out their sup­port and in­fra­struc­ture, we would not have man­aged the sheer vol­ume of food sud­denly avail­able. Even with Just Zilch’s help, there was food left be­hind which we did not have ca­pac­ity to col­lect.

A cou­ple came over from Whanganui to help pick pump­kins in Bulls and were so in­spired they went home and started their own Com­mu­nity Fruit Har­vest group for their area. They came back to Palmer­ston North four days later to help pick ap­ples. They took a trailer load of fruit and pota­toes back to Whanganui to share and to help kick-start their group.

This in­crease in op­por­tu­ni­ties means CFH needs more vol­un­teers. We have lots of great ideas for en­cour­ag­ing more shar­ing, and we’d love peo­ple to come on board and help with pro­mo­tion and co-or­di­na­tion.

To learn more or help out, check out Com­mu­nity Fruit Har­vest Manawatu on Face­book or con­tact Madz on 329 7806 or email pick­fruit@sling­shot.co.nz

PHOTO: MADZ BATACHEL

Har­vest bounty – there were so many ap­ples, Com­mu­nity Fruit Har­vest ran out of boxes. This group of vol­un­teers from a lo­cal English lan­guage school picked this huge pile in about an hour.

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