Now that the harvest season is in full swing, our harvest crew is busy visiting homes all over the city to pick fruit every day. But the Great Seattle Fruit Harvest is not just about harvesting fruit. More importantly, it is also about sharing it with the community.
2020 turned out to be an opportune year to expand our Fruit for All program (albeit logistically challenging!) and offer an additional way to make the bounty from our city's fruit trees accessible to more neighbors in need. Previously, Fruit for All Pop-ups mainly served as locations for City Fruit members to pick up their fruit CSA shares. But this year, to truly live up to its name “Fruit for All,” we expanded the program to offer free fruit to anyone in the community. We also expanded the number of pop-ups to 12, up from 5 pop-ups in 2019, and focused on some of Seattle’s underserved neighborhoods. In a year when so many individuals and families are impacted by the pandemic, it is critically important that everyone in our community have access to fresh, healthy fruit grown in our city – a valuable resource that is meant to be shared, not wasted.
So far we have hosted three Fruit for All Pop-ups at the NewHolly Rockery Community Garden, High Point Juneau Community Garden, and Garfield Community Center, and it’s been such a joy to meet our neighbors and share the fruit with them! There were many folks who had heard about the free fruit program and decided to check it out. And there were some who happened to walk by, and were delighted to find out that the fruit was available to anyone, for FREE! And of course, we are still offering CSA shares for City Fruit members, and it is always nice to see familiar faces returning for more fresh fruit.
But, of course, this is 2020. Nothing is without a challenge. Setting up a free fruit stand in a pandemic year requires a lot of adjustments and safety precautions. All the fruit is now pre-bagged with some sample fruit on display to show what’s inside. Customers are asked to wait in a line and practice social distancing while waiting, and of course everyone wears a mask to keep each other safe. After tweaking the system a few times, it is now a safe, efficient, outdoor setup that allows us to safely share our fruit with community members.
We recently received some press coverage highlighting the Fruit for All Pop-ups, which brought so many new members to our growing fruit sharing community. THANK YOU everyone for your support of the program! While member CSA shares are now full for the rest of the season, we will still have a lot of FREE fruit at each pop-up, available to anyone interested on a first-come, first-served basis. So if you know anyone in need of fresh, nutritious fruit, please let them know about the upcoming pop-ups!
Our special thanks to our partners, the Seattle Parks and Recreation's Urban Food Systems Program and the Seattle Department of Neighborhoods, and our sponsors Darigold and PCC Community Markets for making this year’s Fruit for All possible!
(Photos by Shekinah San Jose)