Urban Harvest – Enjoying the Fruits of Birmingham
Many tonnes of fruit are wasted every year in Birmingham as people don’t have the time or are unable to pick in their gardens. Even more is wasted on community land.
Urban Harvest will pick fruit from people's gardens and community land (with permission) that would otherwise rot where it grows. Householders and the volunteers who picked will be offered first refusal up to 50% of the fruit picked.
Remaining fruit will be used in two ways:1. Some will be given to children's centres, food banks and other places promoting healthy eating.2. The rest will be used to generate income to run the project again in 2014 and beyond. All money raised will go back into the project to buy any further equipment needed, pay for storage and employ a part time Project Coordinator – the key to a successful project. All money will be raised through selling jams, pickles and fruit.
[Due to the cost of juicing we do not intend to juice this harvest.]
We’re really excited about the potential for this project. We know we can make a difference with your help. We are offering a range of rewards for anyone who pledges. These are all on the right of the screen. Rewards range from a public thank you and membership of ‘The Unforbidden Fruit Club’ to a fruit tree, invitation to events with VIP treatment and places on courses run by our partners.
If you would like to support Urban Harvest choose your reward from the list on the right, click on it and follow the instructions or just click 'PLEDGE'.
We are crowdfunding to get this project running in a way that is sustainable for future harvests, not just 2013. Your support will allow us to employ a part time project Coordinator to run the project, organise picking, distribute, jam, pickle and preserve the fruit. This role is crucial to the success of Urban Harvest. Two other key elements will be:• Developing markets for locally grown produce to encourage people to buy local and seasonal.• Generating income through the project, using crowdfunding money as seed money, to be able to deliver the project in 2014 and for years after that.
For anyone preferring to donate in person, please send to Northfield Ecocentre, 53 Church Road, Birmingham, B31 2LB and we will put it through crowdfunder so it contributes to the total.
We have rewards for businesses too including bespoke team away days and orchards planted on your site.
Recent businesses to work with us include Wilkinson's. One of their team members said: "The team have really benefited from working as a single unit and getting to know each other better. We’ve had fun and a good laugh and I think they’ve appreciated a break from their usual roles in-store. It’s been good for them to see what the Ecocentre does and engage with community work, I think it’s given them a real boost."
Urban Harvest is a project managed by Northfield Ecocentre, working with Martineau Gardens, Urban Veg and Growing Birmingham to pick the fruit already growing in Birmingham, making sure it is available to those who really need nutritious fresh fruit through children’s centres and food banks, and increase the number of locally produced products available.
If you have fruit you would like to pick and donate or you would like us to come and pick, or if you would like to volunteer then please get in touch with Northfield Ecocentre. Connect with other fruit lovers at https://www.facebook.com/UrbanHarvestBirmingham
Urban Harvest was set up as a business in 2011 by Eleanor Hoad and Nigel Baker, who identified a real need in our community and felt compelled to take action. They picked five tonnes of fruit in one harvest season but due to personal commitments were unable to take the business forwards.
Northfield Ecocentre worked with Urban Harvest last year to run a pilot community Urban Harvest project. We found many households simply aren’t able to pick the fruit in their own garden for many reasons including ill-health, busy lives or difficult to reach branches. They were relieved the fruit would be used instead of left to rot.
The fruit was well used going to children’s centres, individuals, a food coop, the volunteers and some of the households. This pilot was not aimed at raising an income but at finding out the demand and interest locally. Despite the lack of fruit in this respect it was a huge success.
The Future of Urban Harvest
We want to build on the community pilot project to create a catalyst for change in our community. Fruit grown locally is delicious, nutritious, low carbon and affordable. This project has four main aims:
• Use local fruit instead of letting it rot where it grows• Change our relationship to fruit by introducing locally grown fruit to the market place• Changing attitudes to fruit, particularly the size and shape, through events and activities that allow people to try local fruit which may not look the right size or shape for supermarket fruit but is delicious!• Use crowdfunding as seed funding to create a financially sustainable project that can provide a service to the community for years to come. All income generated will go back into the project.
This is a real community project. We will bring people together around a common purpose changing our relationships not just to fruit but to each other. We will pick fruit throughout the harvest season, hold courses on preserve making, juicing, pruning and fruit tree maintenance.
Whether the fruit we pick is pickled, cooked, or preserved it will definitely be eaten and enjoyed. All picking is of course done with landowner permission.
The Reasons We Are Crowd Funding
We need a six month part time project coordinator for Urban Harvest to be successful. This part time person will find the places where fruit needs to be picked, recruit and coordinate fruit picking volunteers, make sure the fruit is stored correctly and used to the best effect, coordinate events for the project including courses, and find markets for the produce to make sure the project becomes self-sustaining. This will cost £7,500.
We will need to buy some equipment for picking including a few hard hats to keep our volunteers safe! Some of the fruit will be juiced and bottled at the local college which will cost around £2,000, depending on the amount of fruit we pick! There will also be some transportation costs for both fruit and volunteers.
We have a lot of support locally for this project including offers of free storage spaces, some transport assistance, lots of pickers and many local businesses wanting to sell Birmingham produce. We know there is a real demand for this project.