A photo from the 2018 pumpkin pick-up in Port Alberni. (SUBMITTED PHOTO)

A photo from the 2018 pumpkin pick-up in Port Alberni. (SUBMITTED PHOTO)

Port Alberni’s post-Halloween pumpkin pick-up returns

Volunteers needed for Nov. 1

A few Port Alberni organizations are hoping to “rescue” post-Halloween pumpkins from a trip to the landfill this year.

Social Root Consulting, Wildsafe BC, the Shelter Farm and Community Futures Alberni-Clayoquot are collaborating for a “Pumpkin Pick-up” project. People can donate their pumpkins after Halloween—carved or not—to be eaten or composted.

The pumpkin pick-up was last hosted in 2018 and went “really well” said Genevieve Huneault of Social Root Consulting. More than 30 volunteers picked up 348 pumpkins, which translated to almost 2,300 pounds of pumpkin. Fifty percent of the pumpkin was donated to local farmers to feed their livestock, while 16 percent was composted. The remaining 34 percent was turned into soup, pie and muffins for the local food bank.

“That’s all food that otherwise would have been wasted,” said Huneault.

In the Alberni Valley, people have a long-standing tradition of bringing their pumpkin jack o’ lanterns to Cathedral Grove or the top of the Highway 4 “Hump” after Halloween so others can look at them. After a few weeks, highways or parks crews would clean up the pumpkin carcasses. This year, Cathedral Grove is closed to pedestrians and traffic due to COVID-19, leaving less space for pumpkins.

READ MORE: Pumpkin tradition in Cathedral Grove

The tradition is a fun one, said Huneault, but the pumpkins can attract hungry wildlife closer to the highway.

“It does pose some concerns around wildlife protection,” she said.

The pumpkin pick-up will take place on Sunday, Nov. 1, and organizers are still looking for volunteers to pick up, sort and process pumpkins. If you are interested in volunteering or donating your pumpkins, check out the AV Pumpkin Pick-up Facebook event page or email avpumpkinpickup@gmail.com.

“We just need some hands on deck,” explained Huneault.


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