Community Crowdsourcing Sustainability 

Homegrown Fruit for a Greater Good


Growing fruits and vegetables in our own gardens has become a mini phenomenon over the past while as consumers are looking for more ‘organic’ alternatives and really, a better bang for their buck! At harvest time however, often there is too much of what we’ve grown and sadly some of it goes to waste even after it’s been shared between a couple of families and sometimes, it’s not always possible for owners to gather their own crops. So here, I present two ideas that have taken flight which are totally implementable in your own communities!


We first heard of Not Far from the Tree via our friends at Trinity Reach Farm (our neighbourhood farmers) and were intrigued by the program that the organization has come up with. A simple idea that has done wonders for the community by coordinating a residential fruit picking program, right in the heart of Toronto, Canada!

Many ambitious home growers often find that when it’s time to harvest the fruits of their labour (no pun intended :P ) they are unable to do so themselves for whatever reason. So instead of letting the fruits go to waste because the owner is unable to personally harvest them, Not Farm from the Tree suggests why not share it with those around you?


So here’s how it works: “We help fruit tree owners make use of the abundance of fruit that their trees offer by dispatching teams of volunteers to harvest it for them. One third goes to the fruit tree owners, another third goes to the volunteers for their labour, and the final third is distributed (by bicycle or cart) to community organizations in the neighbourhood who can make good use of the fresh fruit.”

What they have picked so far this year are sweet cherries, sour cherries, mulberries, plums, apples, crab apples and pears. So far this year, they have picked over 11,400 pounds of fruit!

photos in this post have been taken from Robin Newman-Not Far from the Tree.


The second example is Giapo, the first ever ice cream parlour that encourages local farmers and wannabe farmers to donate the fruits they’ve grown in their own backyards in exchange for ice cream made by their company. The project known as Certified Organic asks consumers, “Have you got a fruit tree in your, your neighbours’ or relatives’ back yard? Do you know of someone who from time to time has fruit going to waste simply because they can’t use it all?”

To guarantee the quality, Giapo and their team randomly test samples through a specialist lab to ensure compliance with their requirement of fruits that are free of herbicides or pesticides and has not been treated with chemicals. In true barter form, the fruit that is given is then compensated for free Giapo gelato!


As a project which sprouted in Auckland, New Zealand, Giapo serves gelato that is 100% natural with no preservatives, gelatine or hydrogenated fats. The appeal is that the fat content is only between zero to 8%, which comes from the dairy and natural nuts used to make certain flavours. Their sorbets are vegan and fat free too! You can find their flavour list here, which is updated daily. With flavours like Aloe Vera Sorbet, Yellow Sweet Tweet and Peanut Butter and Organic Honey I can eat gelato everyday!

photos via Giapo’s Facebook page.

So let’s start thinking about what other ways we can help create win-win situations in our communities. Suggestions?

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