Seattle may be the only urban environment in the U.S. that can still boast having an extensive network of orchards containing an assortment of heirloom varieties planted by early settlers to the region.
–Audrey Lieberworth, Seattle’s Orchards: A Historic Legacy Meets Modern Sustainability
Mission and History
City Fruit harvests and stewards urban fruit trees to support sustainable and equitable access to fruit.
An independent nonprofit, City Fruit started in 2008 when founder Gail Savina organized volunteers who were interested in trying to redirect Seattle’s excess fruit from waste. Many people then did not know how to go about sharing excess fruit, and community members were not aware that they could harvest from public orchards. City Fruit began to build community by harvesting and sharing fruit with all, and sharing knowledge of the stewardship and promise of fruit trees as a sustainable food resource in our community.
Today, we help tree owners and community orchardists grow healthy fruit, provide assistance in harvesting and preserving fruit, promote the equitable sharing of extra fruit with neighbors, and work to protect public fruit trees. We take a holistic approach to our work and have programs from education and outreach to tree care and harvest, and we advocate for equitable food policy and sustainable orchard care and food practices.
Supported by six core staff and hundreds of volunteers, City Fruit now has access to over 7,000 fruit trees and vines across public and private lands in and around Seattle. Annually, we harvest 25-45,000 pounds of diverse fruits across King County and work in partnership with hundreds of individual tree owners and more than 35 organizations to harvest, promote, and distribute fruit and fruit-based foods. We recognize urban fruit trees are a valuable community resource and work in partnership with individual, government, and small business stakeholders and community groups, public spaces, human service organizations, and educational institutions to care for and utilize fruit trees into our communities and food system. Our hope is that these fruit trees can continue to provide food for future generations.
Not from the Seattle area? Check out the National Gleaning Project’s map of different food justice and gleaning organizations across the country!
Core Organizational Goals
Join communities together in celebration of hyper-local fruit.
Contribute to the growth of our local, community-driven food system.
In partnership with community, co-design education and skill-training opportunities related to urban agriculture.
Promote the stewardship and care of our urban fruit canopy year-round.
As inhabitants of Seattle, all of us at City Fruit live, work, and play on the traditional shared lands of the Coast Salish peoples, including the Suquamish, Duwamish, Nisqually, Snoqualmie, and Muckleshoot tribal nations. We are continuing to learn how to decolonize our mindsets and practices, and envision our work in food justice as a means to challenge the exploitative processes of our current food system.
Click here to learn more about the traditional lands you are on.