Have extra produce to share? Help us spread the love in our community!
FEELING ABUNDANT? SHARE YOUR EXTRA PRODUCE WITH THE COMMUNITY!
Do you have fruit, vegetables or nuts that you don’t find yourself using? Let us know! Sign up your trees, orchard, farm, or garden as soon as possible for the best chance of us coming to recover your unused produce. If we have a Harvest Leader available, we will arrange a date to come harvest the produce if it is a match for our gleaning program.
We donate about 75% of what we pick to organizations across the community. Volunteers are welcome to take a small bag/box home with them.
If you have already registered with us, please be sure to give us 2 weeks notice of when the produce will be perfect for picking! Providing plenty of notice allows us time to get a pick organized, especially when we get quite busy.
Thank you for working with us to help feed our community!
We only distribute high quality produce within our community. We will not harvest produce that has worms or other insects or is moldy and overripe.
We have a large and growing wait list of tree owners requesting our picking services. We cannot guarantee we can schedule a pick even if you sign up now, but we will do our best!
HOW IT WORKS
Step 1: Register you tree, orchard, or farm plot
Fill out the Tree Owner Registration Form with as much detail as possible. If you are not comfortable filling out a Google form, you can leave a voicemail for our coordinators at 250-277-1932 (ext. 0) or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org. One of our coordinators will be in touch with you to clarify any additional details. We typically require a 2 week notice to arrange a harvest in time. Once you are registered with us, our coordinators will contact you in future years to arrange future harvests. Please read the Frequently Asked Questions for more information about our produce rescue program. You can be removed from our contact list at any time.
Please note that we cannot guarantee that we can harvest at each address from which we receive a request. We prioritize existing tree owners whose trees we have been harvesting on a reglar basis over the years.
Step 2: Our coordinators organize the harvest
There is a lot of work that goes on behind the scenes to organize a harvest! We need to organize all the details with you, and then we organize the rest of the details: our lead volunteer or staff leader, the rest of the required volunteers, the equipment, and finally, where the harvest will be delivered. PHEW!
Step 3: Prepare for our arrival
If you have extra equipment we can use in our harvest, such as ladders (especially orchard ladders), please place them somewhere easily accessible to our volunteers and let our coordinator know ahead of time.
You may want to place you yard waste bin and a rake close by so we may tidy up after we are done harvesting.
Please ensure a hose or water source is accessible for our volunteers to wash their hands and so we may hose down our picking equipment.
Step 4: The harvest happens
If we are able to arrange all the necessary details, our volunteers arrive at your tree, orchard, or farm along with our equipment. We harvest as much as we can, clean up the area, and then leave with the harvested produce. Because we work with volunteers, we only harvest for up to 2 hours at a time, so we cannot commit to harvesting all of your fruit.
Step 5: Support our work
It takes a lot to organize, harvest, and deliver your produce! Each harvest cost us $200 or more to organize. If we harvest your tree(s), we’d be grateful if you supported our charity with a suggested donation of $50. If you decide to donate, you will receive a tax receipt for any donation over $20. Most years, we receive more requests to organize harvests than we are able to take on. Donations increase our capacity to able able to say YES to to our harvest clients and they also increase our capacity to donate fresh produce back to the community.
Yes, please harvest my produce and share it with the community!
I’m so grateful that our apples are not going to waste. Our apples have been donated to schools in the area and I am happy to hear that children have more access to nourishing food.
I have had my trees registered with the Okanagan Fruit Tree Project since 2013. They come out every year to harvest my apricots, plums, and apples. I am always happy with their service.
I am always happy to have the Okanagan Fruit Tree Project harvest our extra apples from the orchard. I appreciate that they are helping reduce food waste and supporting the community.
My golden plum produces way more fruit than I could ever eat! I am so glad when the volunteers arrive to clean off the tree. I have peace of mind knowing that it’s going somewhere useful and I have less clean to do!
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
What kind of produce do you harvest?
Fruit may be in our name, but that isn’t our only game!
We love to harvest any fruits, vegetables or nuts you may have that would otherwise go to waste.
If I have a fruit tree, does it need to be sprayed?
It depends on the fruit. We recommended following best tree care practices.
We will not harvest cherries that have not been sprayed (too many worms without the spray!).
We have harvested other fruits and vegetables that are not sprayed. However, before we set up a harvest, we will ask you about the quality of the produce as we cannot donate produce that is badly damaged, rotten, or overripe.
Do I need to have a minimum amount of produce for your volunteers to come out?
We don’t have a specific minimum requirement as it depends on what we are harvesting. Usually we require at least 100 pounds or a couple of boxes of produce to make it work on our end. Our coordinators will work with you to determine if you are a match for our produce rescue program.
I'm not really that good at estimating amounts, how do I know how much produce I have to donate?
A phone call with one of our coordinators should help you figure that out. Sometimes we estimate based on weight, sometimes on volume. If you really aren’t sure, sending us a photo of your fruit tree or garden will help us see how much there is to harvest. With your permission we may also send over a trained volunteer or staff member to inspect your produce before organizing the harvest.
How do I know when my produce is ready to harvest?
It depends on the type of produce. Some things need to be picked just before they are ripe (like apricots and peaches) and some things are better harvested when they are ready to eat (most vegetables, apples, cherries, nuts, etc).
A conversation with one of our coordinators will help us figure out the best time to come out and harvest.
What happens at a harvest?
A Harvest Leader and will arrive to set up for the harvest and greet the other volunteers. Once things are set up and ready to go, the harvest begins.
Once as much produce is harvested as possible within a timespan of 1 to 2 hours. Then, we will do our best to clean up the area. Finally, we take away the harvested produce to share with the community!
How many volunteers attend each harvest?
Our harvests typically require anywhere from 2-25 volunteers, sometimes even more! It depends on what we are harvesting and how much there is to harvest (e.g. one backyard apple tree or an orchard of 60 trees). The equipment we have available to us also determines how many people we may have out to help (e.g. if we have only 2 ladders availble to pick 2 cherry trees, this limits the amount of volunteers that can physically pick the trees).
How long are harvests?
Harvests typically last 1-2 hours. This all depends on:
- the weather
- how many volunteers are there to help and how long they can help for
- how much space we have in our vehicles to take the produce away
- how much equipment we have available to assist in the harvest.
If you are an orchard or farm and there is a lot of produce to harvest, we will sometimes organize larger harvests where we have volunteers come out in shifts throughout the day or over several days. A conversation with our coordinator will help determine what is suitable for you and for our volunteers.
Do I need to be home when you are there harvesting?
That’s up to you! Whatever you are comfortable with works for us.
Some people prefer to be home when we are harvesting, others do not mind if we harvest without anyone home.
If you won’t be home while we are harvesting, it is very helpful if you give clear instructions on where to locate the produce we will be harvesting, how we may access your yard waste bin, rakes, ladders and any other equipment that will help us with the harvest. Clear parking instructions for volunteers are also very helpful!
Some people stay home and help us with the harvest – we love that!
Why didn't you harvest everything that was there to harvest?
There are a lot of reasons why we couldn’t harvest everything:
- Produce was too ripe/damaged
- Remaining fruit in your tree could not physically be reached by our volunteers
- We did not have enough volunteers to harvest everything within the harvest timeframe (approx 2 hours)
- We did not have enough equipment to assist us in harvesting everything within the harvest timeframe
- We ran out of room in our vehicles to take the produce away with us for delivery
- There was a dramatic change in weather that comprised the safety of our volunteers (rain, hail, wind)
We do the best we can with the resources that we have, but please remember that we are a small charity, not a professional service, and our harvests are conducted by volunteers of all ages, including seniors and young children. Depending on our availability, we may be able to arrange a second harvest date to collect the remainder of the produce.
Where does the harvest get delivered?
The harvest is shared with our volunteers, local schools, and social service agencies (shelters, transitional housing, seniors residences, youth clubs). About 75% goes to schools and social service agencies. In some cases, we may be use rescued produce for fundraising activities, such as juice pressing.
I love what you are doing, may I make a donation?
We would be very grateful if you did! Organizing a single harvest takes a lot of effort and cost on average $200. We are supported financially through donations, grants, and fundraising. Every bit helps and we would appreciate your support!
Do you provide tax receipts?
Yes, we do!
We provide tax receipts for both financial donations (if over $20) and for produce donations.
For produce donations, the tax receipt amount is determined by subtracting the cost of our organization/labour from the value of the fruit donated. Per the Canada Revenue Agency, we must value fruit at distributor costs (not retail/grocery store value). This means that only larger produce harvests result in a tax receipt.
We require both your legal name and legal address for tax receipt purposes. We will then email your tax receipt.
Okanagan Fruit Tree Project Society
PO Box 22001
Registered Charity #
We acknowledge that we are situated on the traditional, ancestral, unceded territory of the Syilx Okanagan People. We recognize, honour and respect the presence of Indigenous people, past, present and future.