Feeding the Hungry from the Backyard

One solution to urban food security is surprisingly simple: gathering fruit from backyard trees.
March 19, 2010, 8am PDT | Michael Dudley
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Tens of millions of pounds of edible fruits often go to waste in cities because owners of backyard trees can't make use of all they produce. Now "gleaner groups" are organizing to harvest this bounty to feed people in need; but are finding the concept is so popular it's hard to keep up with demand. As Sena Christian writes on Alternet,

"Typically, a single fruit tree will produce 200 to 300 pounds a year, making community-gleaning groups the low-hanging fruit to addressing food access. And with the social benefit and personal satisfaction high, the idea has caught on like wildfire across the United States. Groups exist in Oregon, Washington, Idaho, Hawaii, Massachusetts, Florida, Kentucky, Pennsylvania and there are 14 in California. The Society of St. Andrew gleans all over the country.

Increasingly, though, these gleaning groups learn that the positive work they do is a double-edged sword, as more trees and interested homeowners exist than some of these typically volunteer-run groups can handle."

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Published on Thursday, March 18, 2010 in AlterNet
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