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Alberni farmer helps with fruit harvest program
Eden Tree Farm is collaborating with Alberni Valley Bear Smart to offer a fruit gleaning program this fall for people who have fruit trees in their yards.
The program has two objectives: to prevent fruit from collecting under trees and attracting bears into residential areas, and to donate unwanted fruit to food banks so the food doesn’t go straight to the landfill.
“This is something I’ve wanted to do for a long time,” Eden Tree Farm owner Heather Shobe said. The Bear Smart organization had access to funding that Shobe didn’t, and by teaming up with them she was able to set up the program. Bear Smart provided the structure and paperwork and Shobe will co-ordinate the harvesting.
The fruit will be donated to the Port Alberni Friendship Centre, Salvation Army, the homeowner and volunteer pickers.
Pickers have already collected cherries, plums and apples.
“We’ve had a lot of interest,” Shobe said.
“We think it’s going to grow as it goes on. We’re still looking for volunteers, anyone with trees and anyone with things that will help with harvesting like ladders, trucks, picking baskets.”
Basic homeowners’ liability insurance will cover pickers when they are invited onto private property. Shobe also has commercial insurance through her business.
To sign up for the fruit gleaning project, go online to www.edentreefarm.ca and follow the links. People can also get in touch with Shobe by e-mailing firstname.lastname@example.org.