23 August 2018

Volunteer with Falling Fruit

Volunteer with Falling Fruit

Autumn is upon us, time to harvest!

Falling Fruit Ireland is a voluntary project to harvest the seasonal glut of local fruit (apples, pears, plums, nuts, etc.) throughout the Dublin area, and countrywide, and direct it to charities that cater for those in need. Each year hundreds of fruit trees go unpicked. Falling Fruit organises a team of volunteers to pick the surplus fruit and distribute it to local charities or other good causes. Falling Fruit is now in its fourth year and has been successful due to the wonderful work of dedicated volunteers.

Falling Fruit was set up for a number of reasons - to create practical solutions to the waste that can happen when households have ‘gluts’ of fruit in their gardens; to re-connect people with local food and the local environment; to foster a healthy community spirit of sharing and care for the disadvantaged; to demonstrate just how much potential there is for feeding ourselves in cities and towns; to connect diverse groups of people through food sharing; to encourage healthy outdoor activity! Making the most of what can be produced in our own city or town cuts food miles.
 
This initiative acts as a helpful service to households who have fruit going to waste in their gardens. Over the years many donors have been extremely grateful to have their fruit picked and directed to charities. The freshly harvested fruit is given away for free. The first share goes to the owner, the second share to the charity, and volunteers are rewarded with fresh fruit too. Care is taken to leave some fruit on the ground and on the trees for birds and wildlife.
 
Falling Fruit has also directed surplus vegetables from allotments to charities and this year received a donation of berries for jam-making from a Dublin community garden. In March 2018 Falling Fruit started a bread rescue project. Each evening, Monday to Thursday, volunteers collect end-of-day fresh bread from a bakery and deliver it to a charity. 

Jams
 
Over the past three years in operation Falling Fruit has rescued vast quantities of fruit from various parts of the country. Last year included a wonderful day picking fruit at Russborough House garden in Blessington, a few days picking at UCD orchard and many private gardens were visited. Falling Fruit has been greatly supported by many groups, has participated in the Zero Waste Festival and has strong links with environmental groups and food sustainability groups.
 
This year Falling Fruit will participate in an Apple Day Event at UCD orchard and also with the Festival of Food at Airfield on September 8th and 9th. An aim for this year is to organise more fruit picking outside Dublin. The long-term vision for the project is to have autonomous Falling Fruit groups in communities all over the country. This could happen with the help of existing organisations, like environmental groups or clubs, foraging groups, outdoor activity clubs, the Tidy Towns network, or similar.
 
UCD apples

There are a number of ways you can get involved with Falling Fruit;

Volunteer as a fruit picker and enjoy some of the freshly picked fruit yourself.

Help with the processing and storage of the fruit and veg so that they can be used when the harvesting season is over.

If you have access to a car you can help distribute food directly to food banks and charities, Falling Fruit aim to distribute food in the local area from where it has been collected.

Help Falling Fruit find new locations and sources of fruit. Ask family, friends, neighbours, work colleagues, clubs or just be on the lookout! New charities are needed, even animal charities that can use fruit that has fallen on the ground.

If you are a grower, you can contact Falling Fruit to offer surplus produce, we will arrange the volunteers and charity to receive your excess crops. 

Because great care is taken, for food safety, all food donated is carefully sorted so that only the best goes to the food charities. Remaining fruit may go for jam making or preserving, or juicing. Fruit from the ground sometimes goes to animal charities.

Find out more on the Falling Fruit website or email bernie@fallingfruit.ie.