Edible Tree Project uses gleaning to help feed the hungry | Community Spirit
A young and up and coming non-profit wants to utilize food sources that are already growing around us to help feed Spokane's hungry. The Spokane Edible Tree Project plans to map and glean Spokane's fruit and nut trees to benefit organizations like Second Harvest.
“There's a lot of under utilized resources in our community,” said Kate Burke, founder of The Spokane Edible Tree Project. Still in early stages of development, Burke is drawing on similar tree gleaning projects from Seattle and Portland. Edible Tree will harvest produce from public trees as well as from trees that private property owners register with the organization.
The 24-year-old Spokane native has been working at Second Harvest for the last year through AmeriCorps VISTA focusing on projects like Plant a Row which encourages local gardeners to plant a few crops for the food bank distributor. Burke connected with the Portland Fruit Tree Project at a conference and they have been helping her get Edible Tree off the ground.
“I want it to be based on our community here and what the needs are here,” said Burke. She is in the process of filing for 501c3 non-profit status and has already begun building a volunteer base and board of directors. The plan for the first year of the project is to map the trees available for gleaning in preparation for next year's harvest.
Burke has always had an interest in tracking where food comes from and local sourcing. In addition to providing much needed produce to area food banks, Burke wants Edible Tree to serve as and educational resource. Another branch of the project will be to educate people on how to care for trees so that they actually produce fruit.
Taking on a brand new non-profit is a huge undertaking and Burke confessed that she's a little nervous about getting her project up and running.
“Something like this just hasn't really been done here before,” said Burke. She hopes that the community sees the value in her vision. “This is something that really needs backing from the community.”
In the end, The Spokane Edible Tree Project is all about making an impact in our community. Burke wants to help feed the hungry while teaching the community that the grocery store isn't the only place to grab an apple.
“There's a problem and it needs to be fixed,” said Burke. “There shouldn't be hungry people in any community.”
If you have fruit or nut trees on your property and would like to register them with Spokane Edible Tree Project click HERE. Volunteers will add your tree to their database and collect the crops for the community. You can also keep up Spokane Edible Tree Project on Facebook.