Backyard Fruit Got You Down?

by Jeannette Hartman

Fruit trees often thrive in Sherman Oaks and Studio City, but many who have fruit trees are unable to eat all the fruit before it goes out of season. So what do you do with all those lemons to keep them from spoiling on the tree? We have the answer.

Lemons still on the tree in late January in Sherman Oaks. Photo by Jeanette Hartman

You can unload your fruit trees, help feed the hungry and reduce waste with a single phone call to Food Forward, a Southern California nonprofit that organizes volunteers to harvest and distribute fruit to those without access to enough food.

Here’s the big picture: Since 2009, Food Forward has organized 4,000 volunteers to gather fruit and vegetables from backyard fruit trees, public orchards, farmers markets and the downtown Los Angeles Wholesale Product Market and distribute it to hunger relief agencies across Southern California’s eight counties and to tribal areas in Arizona and New Mexico. The total value of the produce they have recovered is $271 million.

But back to your backyard. Those orange, lemon and grapefruit trees? The persimmon tree? The avocado, pomegranate or guava tree? Those lovely fruit trees that produce more than you and your family can eat? By registering your trees with Food Forward, you can schedule a harvest and send your fruit to people who are hungry. Your fruit donations are tax-deductible.

If your tree (or trees) aren’t suitable for bringing in volunteers, Food Forward can help you organize a DIY harvest and connect you with food relief organizations. 

Food Forward’s blog has a lot of useful information about fruit tree care, pruning, gleaning, mulching and pest control.

According to the Food Forward website, nearly one in nine Californians – 4 million people — lacks access to enough food. At the same time, 40 percent or 80 billion pounds of food is wasted in the United States every year.

If you don’t have a backyard fruit tree, you can support Food Forward in a variety of ways, including donations and sponsored events.

To learn more, visit the Food Forward website, email or call (818) 764-1022.

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