LifeCycles in Victoria has been running the Fruit Tree Project for many years now. A kind of gleaning project, it offers a valuable service to fruit tree owners, volunteer pickers and community groups by bringing them together to arrange picks of urban fruit that would otherwise go to waste. In a town that is thick with aging fruit trees – many unpruned and diseased – this is a boon, for the group also offers advice to the tree owners on care and pruning.
Today’s pick brought in some volunteers from the Garth Homer Society, who picked for an hour and then the remaining pickers finished off the job. Two trees were moderately laden with apples and pears.
The trees hadn’t been particularly well managed so much of the fruit was very high, on unpruned branches, requiring the use of LifeCycles’ 12 foot orchard ladders and the extending arm of fruit baskets.
The day’s haul was pretty good: from the two trees, we got about 48kg of pears and 165 kg of apples. The owner got some, the pickers got some and the rest goes to LifeCycles, which distributes the fruit to community groups and local food processors.