The 2019 Great Seattle Fruit Harvest is all but done (we’re still waiting for you, persimmons!). As the chill in the air becomes more and more intense signaling the changing seasons, we can’t help but reflect on the whirlwind season we have had so far this year. In doing so, we cannot forget our community partners who make our work complete. Together, we serve our community.
On a typical day during the season, our harvesters visit a few homes, then take the fruit straight to our partner locations. Then the fruit they picked will be shared with dozens, or even hundreds of our neighbors in need within a day or two, or sometimes in just hours. We work seamlessly together because we share a common goal: to serve our community.
We are honored to share this work with dozens of our community partners, including these amazing organizations:
Rainier Valley Food Bank
Rainier Valley Food Bank, a longtime City Fruit community partner, is one of Seattle’s busiest food banks that serves approximately 1,300 individuals every week our of a tiny 1,200 sqft facility in Rainier Valley.
Rainier Valley Food Bank’s mission is to nourish with good food, empower with knowledge, and serve with compassion. However, they often say food is just the starting point for the work that they do. If people in the community are struggling with food security, chances are they are also experiencing barriers to other resources and basic needs. So it's integral to their work that they build meaningful relationships with their guests and community so that they can learn what other resources they might need access to. They are continually working to address the systemic causes of hunger and poverty in the community, and looking for ways to create food systems that are both sustainable and equitable. One of the main ways they do this is through their partnerships with organizations like City Fruit - they work with local farmers/farm stands, support youth empowerment efforts and engage in advocacy opportunities.
The fruit donated by City Fruit is used to support all of their programs and outreach efforts, which includes their Home Delivery Program, Backpack Program, Spark (Something Packed and Ready-to-eat love Kathy), and Grocery Distribution program.
The partnership with City Fruit is meaningful to RVFB because it helps them connect their community to fresh fruit that is grown and harvested in the city. This model of sustainability and community connection aligns directly with their mission and values. As the Rainier Valley Food Bank continues to grow and expand their programs, they are excited to see the relationship with City Fruit expand, particularly in creating more opportunities for their customers and volunteers to learn about urban orchards and the abundance that the city can provide.
ROOTS Young Adult Shelter
We started working with ROOTS Young Adult Shelter this year, and we are extremely happy that we were able to find a new use for our otherwise non-donatable fruit through their meal program!
ROOTS provides a safe space for up to 45 young adults aged 18-25 to sleep per night, as well as basic necessities such as meals, hygiene products, and laundry facility.
They use the fruit from City Fruit in two ways: to cook breakfast and dinner at the shelter, and also put it in a bowl by the door in the morning for people can grab it on their way out to for a healthy snack. Since most of the fruit is cooked into meals, they are able to utilize slightly damaged fruit that other food banks cannot accept, and help further minimize food waste.
The partnership with City Fruit has given a more consistent access to a greater variety of fresh fruit, instead of the bulk food donations that they often receive from other sources, and is greatly appreciated by their customers.
Ballard Food Bank
When you visit the Ballard Food Bank, you’ll see their mission statement prominently written on the wall: “We bring food and hope to our neighbors because there can be enough for everyone.” To ensure this goal is achieved, Ballard Food Bank distributes food to over 1,200 individuals every week.
The fruit City Fruit donates goes directly into their grocery store model food bank where their customers get to pick and choose what they want based on their needs, up to 30 lbs of perishable and non-perishable per visit, to have balanced meals.
The partnership with City Fruit is another stream of fresh fruit available for their customers who are in need of healthy, nutritious produce. They enjoy the variety of the fruit that they receive, including some types of fruit that they might not usually get.