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Not Far From The Tree: Toronto’s Fun Fruit Picking Initiative

It’s summer in the city, and it’s been nothing but sunshine day after day. While this means that most of us have our A/C cranked on full blast, the foliage and greenery outside is thriving in the heat. Fruit trees with berries in particular have been in full bloom, and one non-profit is not missing the opportunity to snatch them up before they end up on the ground.

Not Far From the Tree is an amazing initiative in Toronto, with the official website describing it as a “fruit picking and sharing project”. Toronto residents may not be aware of the abundance of fruit trees in homeowners’ backyards that have huge amounts of the fruit going to waste every year. Not Far From the Tree makes incredible use of the urban bounty by donating what has been picked by volunteer fruit pickers to 35 social service agency partners that include community centres, shelters, and food banks.

The process for getting involved is very simple; when you go to the official website you can apply to be a fruit picker or a tree owner. With the fruit picker option, once you’ve registered you can then choose from a list that displays the date and time of a fruit pick, as well as the type of fruit you will be picking. A leader will be at the address upon arrival, and guides a small group throughout the picking process. Once complete, the fruit is weighed it is divided between the leader, the pickers,and the social service agency. The whole experience is extremely rewarding, with a couple hours of proper exercise, some new people to talk to, and a container of fruit to enjoy.

Not Far From the Tree has Covid-19 social distancing rules in place, and encourages all participants to follow them during every meetup. If you are interested in joining, check out their website at notfarfromthetree.org