The Okanagan Fruit Tree Project is a Registered Charity that operates in the Central Okanagan and Penticton area. We grow and harvest fresh produce which is then shared within our community. We do this through our programming:

Produce Rescue

Backyard fruit tree owners, orchardists, and farmers with food to harvest contact us and we organize our volunteers to go out and collect it! We harvest from fruit trees, nut trees, and vegetable plots. The harvest is then shared between our amazing volunteers, the home owner, and the majority is delivered to the community organizations we support in the Central and South Okanagan. Some is reserved for our social enterprise to raise funds to continue to amazing community building that we do!

Community Farming

We farm a 1/2 acre plot in Kelowna. Our volunteers help plant, weed, and harvest vegetables such as onions, potatoes, carrots, beets, kale, spinach, lettuce, tomatoes, peppers, squash and more! This bounty is then shared with community organizations in Central Okanagan and beyond. We are working to establish a new farm plot at our new property in East Kelowna – stay tuned for more updates in 2023!

Collaborative Harvest

We partner with social service agencies where their participants help out at the farm or come and harvest produce throughout the Okanagan. This inclusive activity connects their clients with the outdoors, supports their overall wellbeing, and is a safe and fun.


  • Engage community in our local food system
  • Increase community wellbeing through social connection, physical activity, and nourishing food
  • Educate and build capacity around sustainable agriculture practices
  • Increase dignified access to healthy food for those in need through the temporary relief of hunger
  • Protect and celebrate local agriculture
  • Reduce food waste


For many years, members of the Okanagan community brought the issue of surplus food going to waste throughout the valley to the attention of the Central Okanagan Food Policy Council (COFPC). At the same time, the conversation also alluded to the many residents who go without enough food to eat on a daily basis. With this gap between excess food and rumbling stomachs, it only made sense to develop a means of recovery in our abundant community. From this, the Okanagan Fruit Tree Project was born in 2012, originally as a Food Action Project of the COFPC to share the bounty with those who need it the most. The project grew so fast, that in 2014 the OFTP became a non-profit society and transformed again in 2016 to become a registered charity!


Casey Hamilton

Casey Hamilton

Executive Director

Oh hi there! I have had the pleasure of working with the Okanagan Fruit Tree Project since 2011. Nowadays I mainly work behind the scenes, but sometimes you might catch me at a fruit tree harvest, farm day, or making deliveries!

I am a Registered Dietitian with a background in health promotion and population health, community development, and community-based participatory action research. What does this mean? I understand the power that food has in building and maintaining vibrant communities. I believe that people realize and build on their potential when they participate with their fellow community members in our food system. Food breaks down barriers between people and encourages communication and connection. No matter your background, food brings us together.

Lucie Bardos

Lucie Bardos

Program Manager

Hello! My name is Lucie Bardos and I am interested in the concept of growing community from the ground up. I hold a MSc in critical sustainability studies and have a background in community building centred around permaculture, education, and non-profit work. For the past several years, I have worked as an educator and coordinator of research projects and community-based initiatives in Canada and Europe. I am very excited to be working with the Okanagan Fruit Tree Project in hopes of contributing towards positive social change in Kelowna. In my spare time, I can be found puttering around in the garden, illustrating, or playing guitar with my band.


Shayne Dyrdal

Shayne Dyrdal


Shayne Dyrdal is a CPA, CA with over 15 years experience in aviation, mining, oil and gas and public practice.  Shayne is currently the Senior Finance and Corporate Services Manager at Kelowna International Airport (YLW) where she helps define the strategic direction of YLW and oversees the financial stewardship of the organization.  In this role, Shayne manages financial forecasting, reporting, and budgeting, as well as cash management, procurement, legal and insurance.  Being lucky enough to grow up in Kelowna, Shayne developed a love and appreciation for food at a very young age.  She loves growing, cooking, and enjoying food with others, and feels lucky to be a part of the Okanagan Fruit Tree Project.  Shayne has been serving on the Board of the Okanagan Fruit Tree Project since 2019.

Ryan McDowell

Ryan McDowell


Born in Winnipeg, raised in Saskatoon, educated in Calgary and opened my first entrepreneurial venture in Vernon and expanded to Kelowna where I currently reside. The last ten years I have traveled the globe preaching the gospel of  sustainable building practices.

Although not a farm boy by any stretch of the imagination the agricultural environment and philosophies left an impact on my worldview. I believe that Saskatchewan is the birth place of a Canadian cooperative mentality were farmers worked together to help each other work the land and get through the harsh winter conditions together.  It is in this spirit that I believe it is important to stay connected to our agricultural roots. Engaging members of our community to work the land and harvest fruit and vegetables to gift on to organizations and people who need a little helping hand is the a great expression of compassion in our community. “A tree is known for its fruit, a man by his deeds”.  I volunteer for the OFTP to honour those before me who gifted us this Canadian cooperative philosophy that we should all take care of each other.

Jennifer Simpatico

Jennifer Simpatico

Board Chair

Jennifer has over ten years of work experience with tree fruits and tree fruit growers throughout the Okanagan, having worked as a crop insurance adjuster for many years and now working for the BC Government, providing crop insurance coverage to tree fruit and grape growers from Salmon Arm to Osoyoos. She is passionate about agriculture in the Okanagan and is grateful and excited to be a part of the Okanagan Fruit Tree Project Board of Directors.

Dylan Switzer

Dylan Switzer


Dylan is the Managing Partner at FH&P Lawyers LLP. Dylan’s practice focuses on business law, real estate, estate planning and administration. He represents corporations, societies and charities throughout British Columbia assisting with a wide range of business law matters including incorporations, asset and share transactions, and corporate re-organization. Dylan has been serving on the Board of the Okanagan Fruit Tree Project since 2015. Dylan is a self-professed foodie, kitchen explorer, and contributes widely to our community.

Okanagan Fruit Tree Project Society

PO Box 22001

Kelowna, BC

V1Y 9N9




Registered Charity #

819840778 RR0001

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