Ever wonder what happens to the abundance of fruit grown in people's yards, all over the city of Portland? Ever hoped there could be something good done with all of it, so that it doesn't go to waste? Enter Portland Fruit Tree Project, our featured charity for the month of June. PFTP brings neighbors together to pick fruit that would otherwise go to waste.  Half goes to families in need through our local food bank partners, and half goes to participants. They teach people how to care for fruit trees, how to can their harvest, and have a lot of fun doing it!

Here's what Portland Fruit Tree Project accomplished in 2011:

  • In 63 harvesting events (57 harvesting parties, 4 group harvests, 2 benefit harvests) we brought together541 volunteers in harvesting fruit. 53% of harvest participants were living on low incomes.
  • Harvested over 39,000 pounds of fruit that would have otherwise gone to waste, from 354 trees at 79 sitesthroughout the city.
  • 29,000 lbs of this fruit was distributed to over 4000 families in need through food pantry partners. The rest went home with harvest participants
  • Held 21 hands-on workshops in tree care and food preservation, teaching 182 people skills for self-sufficiency. Scholarships were provided to 1/3 of participants.
  • Engaged 86 volunteers in leadership roles as Harvest Leaders, Tree Scouts, Tree Care Team Leaders, Workshop instructors, Committee members, Interns, and Garden/Orchard Coordinators.
  • Registered 404 new fruit trees, bringing the total number to 1,546 (and counting).

We hear they're harvesting cherries very soon, and can't wait to get more involved! For more information, check out Portland Fruit Tree Project, here.