Every autumn hundreds of fruit trees on private and public land across the UK go unpicked. Sometimes it’s because people just don’t notice they’re there, or they are not physically able to harvest them. Other trees are just so abundant that the owner can’t get through all the fruit.
People have been picking and sharing surplus fruit for centuries. It’s a tradition that continues to this day, both in the form of boxes on front walls with ‘take me’ signs, and in official ‘abundance’ projects.
Abundance is a growing movement that harvests neglected local fruit trees such as apples, pears, plums and cherries. Volunteers pick the surplus fruit and redistribute it to the community (for free) to community cafes, nurseries, children’s centres and local people.
Transition Keynsham’s food group has just started our own abundance project. We’ll be giving our fruit to a local day care centre, the children’s centre and Community @67. We also hope to host jam and chutney workshops.
We’ve been really lucky to win a grant from Keynsham Town Council for apple pressing and picking equipment so the fruit we pick that’s not suitable for eating can be juiced and distributed too.
We will be holding an apple day in October to celebrate the harvest, where everyone can have a go at pressing their own fruit. Longer term we have plans to make our own community cider, offer pruning workshops and plant native fruit and nut trees around Keynsham.
We are currently looking for fruit trees to harvest, and volunteers to help pick them during September and October. Please get in touch with firstname.lastname@example.org to tell us about trees in your area, or to get involved with harvesting.
Published in Keynsham Voice July 2015, www.keynshamvoice.co.uk