Vol­un­teer har­vesters reap ripe re­wards

The Tribune (NZ) - - CONVERSATIONS - MADZ BATACHEL

Com­mu­nity Fruit Har­vest ( CFH) has again en­joyed a bumper year of har­vest­ing sur­plus fruit to share with the com­mu­nity.

In a re­peat of pre­vi­ous years, CFH was in­vited to pick ap­ples and pears from a teach­ing or­chard in the city, and up to 90 vol­un­teers turned up to pick on three sep­a­rate days in April and May.

Col­lec­tively, they picked over 450 boxes of fruit, which were then dis­trib­uted to over 30 food banks, li­braries, ed­u­ca­tional in­sti­tutes, com­mu­nity groups and shar­ing ta­bles around the re­gion.

Cindy Duker from Plant to Plate took time out of her week to come to one of the pick­ing days.

‘‘I had an awe­some time with the Manawatu Com­mu­nity Har­vest group pick­ing ap­ples and pears at a lo­cal or­chard. My gar­den­ing van was full to the brim.

‘‘Most went to Palmer­ston North’s free store, Just Zilch. The rest went to lo­cal kinder­gartens and pri­mary schools near where I live.

‘‘Long­burn School’s ‘green team’ share table was heav­ing with fresh crunchy good­ness this af­ter­noon, and I am happy to say it all went to good homes to be en­joyed,’’ Duker said.

A high­light this year, was stop­ping at a friend’s house in Roslyn on the way home from the or­chard with the ute over­flow­ing with free-flow ap­ples - we had run out boxes.

The chil­dren of the house­hold ex­cit­edly filled bags with ap­ples to give to passers-by, then ran to many neigh­bour­ing houses mak­ing de­liv­er­ies.

It was sat­is­fy­ing to see the fruit be­ing so ap­pre­ci­ated by mem­bers of the com­mu­nity first­hand.

Un­til now, the or­gan­i­sa­tion side of CFH Manawatu has been a one-man band.

To en­sure the longevity of this fan­tas­tic com­mu­nity ini­tia­tive, I’m hop­ing to get some as­sis­tance from other vol­un­teers in a va­ri­ety of roles.

In­ter­ested peo­ple are in­vited to a public meet­ing to dis­cuss the kind of needs of CFH and how they could be in­volved.

The meet­ing will be held at the ENM of­fice, 74 The Square at 5.30pm on Wed­nes­day, July 19. All are wel­come.

Email Madz at pick­fruit@sling­shot.co.nz to reg­is­ter your in­ter­est.

NADEEKA PREMARATHNA

Ge­sandu Sa­ma­rasekara, 8, was one of many vol­un­teers who turned up to pick ap­ples and share the bounty with the com­mu­nity.

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