Urban Harvest: Urgent Crowd-funding

Urban Harvest: Help save Birmingham’s fruit from going to waste

Our friends at Northfield Ecocentre need our support. They’re re-launching the fantastic Urban Harvest project originally set up by wonderful Loaf and Stirchley Market supporters Eleanor Hoad and Nigel Baker. As keen wild food foragers at Loaf (next Foraging course – 3 Oct), we know there’s loads of free edible treats in and around urban street, canals, parks and back gardens, and whilst we do our best to pick and use what we can, it’s a crying shame that so much goes to waste each year.

The aim of Urban Harvest is to turn local fruit that would otherwise go to waste from back gardens and public places into jams, preserves and juices, and to give apples and soft fruit away for free to children centres and food banks for re-distribution to individuals and families who could benefit from the good old five a day.

Urban Harvets Logo

Crowd funding – £10,000 needed by Weds 18 Sept!

They’re looking to raise £10,000 to re-launch the project and employ a part time co-ordinator, and need 2000 people to donate £5 (or more!) each to reach their target. The deadline is looming, on Wednesday 18th September, and if the target is not met they will be unable to go ahead.

To donate visit: www.crowdfunder.co.uk/urban-harvest

Urban Harvest

They’re also looking for:

  • Volunteers and drivers to help pick fruit
  • People with fruit trees and bushes who would like their produce picked (tell them how much you want to keep and they’ll use any surplus)
  • People to help promote the project and share the crowd-funding site with friends and families
  • Retailers wiling to sell juices and preserves made with local fruit
  • Local producers who need fruit to make their own preserves etc
  • Children centres, food banks and charities who can re-distribute free fruit to those who need it.

Northfield Ecocentre is working with Martineau Gardens, Urban Veg and Growing Birmingham to deliver Urban Harvest.




Abundance Birmingham

apples going to waste
Apples going to waste - Northfield, Birmingham

A month or so back I heard on twitter about a new project called Abundance Birmingham. I’d been following the progress of ‘Abundance Sheffield’ for a few years now, so I wondered if these were connected. To my joy I discovered on their website, that Abundance Birmingham is indeed a community fruit distribution project in the vein of the Sheffield project. This is taken directly from the about page:

“Abundance Birmingham is a voluntary run project that collects and distributes soft fruits that grow unharvested around our city on trees and bushes in both public and private spaces.

Fruit is distributed to groups, volunteers and the local community.  Damaged fruits are turned into juice, preserves, jams and chutneys. Any money raised is put back into the project to help with running costs. We are also creating a detailed reference map of Birmingham with location and tree information for future harvests.

As part of the project we aim to raise awareness of the great abundance of local tasty and healthy food that is available for everyone and for free!”

It’s great to see this project starting in Birmingham, and Loaf will be offering any support we can to help promote it to a wider audience. If you have a fruit tree in your garden with surplus fruit, or spot one growing wild, let Abundance Birmingham know by emailing abundancebirmingham [at] gmail [dot] com, or tweeting them.

PREPARE for a bumper harvest

After reading Hungry City, with it’s (rightly) sombre view of our current food system, I was in need of a bit of a pick-up; something to cheer the heart, warm the soul, and offer a little hope of a better way. Fortunately the next day I heard about PREPARE, a community fruit harvesting scheme to use surplus fruit from gardens and common land. When I heard it was in Birmingham, I nearly fell off my seat on the number 11 bus!

prepare applePREPARE is the brain child of Eleanor Hode, artist in residence for the ward of Erdington. Eleanor says the aim of the project  “is to harvest, process and distribute unused fruit growing in peoples gardens and on public land and to get it eaten! Either as fresh fruit or processed into juice, jams and pickles that are given away to local people”

Eleanor, who’s based at Kingstanding Leisure Centre, has got some funding from Birmingham City Council for the project and has got together most of the necessary equipment for harvesting (A bike and trailer, picking stick, 2 picking bags, sheet of plastic, storage boxes etc), and has had a positive response from local residents so far. However she can’t do it alone, so is on the look out for some keen fruit spotters, pickers, and processors, especially from the Erdington area. Of course there will be plenty of fruity perks for volunteers!

Later in the year Eleanor is planning to plant some fruit trees on 2 sites in the area and to throw an event for Apple Day on Sunday 25th October at Kingstanding Leisure Centre. There’ll hopefully be lots of activities, music, and some apple juicing on a press she’s planning to make. Loaf is planning to show our support, and will certainly let you know all about it on here. Eleanor is also on the look out for a top apple expert to identify varieties and share their knowledge on Apple Day, so if you fit the bill, or know anyone who does, get in touch with Eleanor (see below), or leave a comment on the blog and we’ll pass it on.

If you’re interested in similar initiatives it’s also worth checking out the ‘Abundance’ project in Sheffield that’s been doing similar things for a couple of years.

If you’d like to get involved with the project, you can email eleanorhoad@hotmail.com or get in touch with her on 07974 934 917. Eleanor also has her own page on the artsresidencies.org, and there’s a flyer below (click to enlarge):