Who are we?
We are a not-for-profit society based in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada.
Our mission is to use fruits that grow in the cities of Edmonton, St. Albert and Sherwood Park that are not being used by homeowners and each year we find more local treasures. Although local fruits are not truly organic, they are usually have no pesticides or chemical fertilizers and have grown with rainwater, our long summer sun and been harvested by hand. We have also been gifted with BC fruit that is bruised or past it's prime by a local vendor. All together this makes a wonderful selection of 'rescued' fruits for our products.
How did it all begin?
It all started in the fall of 2010 as we were walking around our 60 year old neighborhood - Sherbrooke. Tons of apples and crab apples were piled in bags in the back lanes for the garbage pick up while we knew there were hungry people in the city. Could we do something about this?
The answer was: "Yes!"
A wonderful video that summarizes it all
The product of our partnership with the University of Alberta and their CSL - Community Service Learning Program.
Fruits of Sherbrooke summarized by Nicole Martin.
What is our strategy?
CONNECTING: First, we find ways of connecting people: those who have fruit in their yards that they do not want or is excess to their needs, and those who will use it. We receive the offer of free fruit from many homeowner who are willing to pick and deliver the fruit, as well as those who have the excess but cannot pick it. Christina is our "urban farmer" and she has found a number of charities, not-for-profit groups, community kitchens, school programs, farmers, and individuals who are interested in receiving this bounty. We are the broker in this case often do not even see the fruit itself as homeowners will deliver it directly to the recipients. There are no restrictions on how much people receive, as long as they commit that it is used.
TEACHING: Preserving is an art and most people remember their mothers and grandmothers canning and saving summer bounty. In our northern climate, this is a necessity. We offer classes in making jam for a small fee to local groups. We also invite volunteers to work with us for a day to have the full experience of how to make jam or sauces and they do walk away fully immersed in the skill and love of the process as we make our jams the old fashioned way - pot on the stove and stirred by hand. A complete listing of programming we offer is on our Events section. We are very aware that there is another group who would benefit from taking classes in preserving our local bounty - those who are low income, shop at the food bank or are new immigrants to Canada. We are starting to teach free classes to this population under our Cherry Stone Soup program. The classes are free and, when we find some funding, we want to provide them with canning equipment so they can continue. We will then have to find a way to connect these individuals with the local abundance in our city.
MAKING: We have worked at creating products that use 60% to 100% "rescued" fruit that we offer for sale. We want to show that one can make good and tasty jam, jelly, condiments and sauces with this abandoned fruit. We are proud to have created unique, flavourful products that are creating a buzz at the Farmer's Markets where we sell them. It is through the sale of our products that we try to support the first two parts of our mission, so we appreciate your support.
We believe our logo on our jars summarizes our product - "forgotten urban fruit made unforgettable" .