My friends recently became Tree Scouts. They are currently on the look out for fruit trees in their neighborhood that can be added to the registry of a Portland based grassroots non- profit called Portland Fruit Tree Project that registers fruit and nut trees. Their goal, to empower neighbors to share in the harvest and care of urban fruit trees. Not only are the owners of the trees able to decide in any given year to give their harvest away or not, they are also invited to learn more about the care and stewardship of fruit trees through programs offered by this organization.
The idea of gleaning comes from biblical sources where every person who owns a field is mandated to leave gleanings from the harvest, as well as a corner of a field itself for collection by the poor. This is a reminder that we are only entrusted with our land, trees etc. and while we harvest and enjoy them they ultimately belong to a higher power.
According to the Portland Fruit Tree Project website, “by empowering neighbors to share in the harvest and care of urban fruit trees, we are preventing waste, building community knowledge and resources, and creating sustainable, cost-free ways to obtain healthy, locally-grown food. Because money doesn’t grow on trees… but fruit does!”
So if you want to do an easy and beneficial mitzvah, sign up to become a tree scout, be a harvest leader or join in a harvest party. Could be a wonderful family opportunity as well.
For more information on the Portland Fruit Tree Project or volunteer ideas, visit www.portlandfruit.org.
To find fruit tree gleaners in your area, google search: Fruit Tree Gleaners, they exist in many places around the country.