Got fresh food? Share it!

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With the scorching hot temperatures and summery days, people with gardens and fruit trees are already seeing nature’s bounty. But if you’re drowning in cucumbers, zucchini, apples, and tomatoes, what do you do with it all?

What do you do with an abundance?

If you are harvesting more fresh food than you can handle, don’t forget that you can share with your local community.

“When the United Way began its project in 2018, we made sure to clear up any confusion with Algoma Public Health about the safety of locally donated produce from private and community gardens, fruit trees, and other locally grown sources. We accept donations of fresh food every summer and we’d like to see a movement grow across the community to share what’s in abundance,” says Jessica Laidley, Food Resource Centre Manager.

United Way’s Harvest Algoma Food Resource Centre is taking a new approach to receiving fresh food donations this year and how we can resurrect the Fallen Fruit project that fell to rot in 2020.

“COVID-19 was a challenge for everything we did last year. Typically Fallen Fruit would bring teams of volunteers together to harvest fruit, drive in the same cars, and have a good time. In the summer and fall of last year, this just wasn’t an option and people were afraid.”

With immunization rates increasing and new COVID-19 protocols in place, Harvest Algoma is anticipating that community gleaning projects can go ahead as normal this fall.

If you have fresh garden produce that you would like to donate, you can connect to a number of different locations in the community. Connect the Dots Community Harvest accepts donations for “Grow-a-Row” each Saturday at 2pm at Mill Market. Other food banks may be interested in accepting produce directly as well, but phone ahead to ensure they have storage space. When all else fails, United Way’s Harvest Algoma will accept any fresh produce Monday to Friday, 9am to 4pm.

If you have a fruit tree that you would like fruit picked from, Harvest Algoma will be coordinating teams of volunteers to pick in the coming weeks. Contact Deron, Logistics Coordinator, at [email protected] or 705-253-0273 x201 to be added to the pick-list. Follow-up calls will be made when teams are available for harvesting.

United Way Sault Ste. Marie & Algoma District began their food security division in 2018 to address food insecurity issues through poverty reduction in our community. Since opening, Harvest Algoma Food Resource Centre has received 1.3 million pounds of food worth approximately $8 million dollars. Harvest Algoma currently provides in excess of 1000 prepared meals per week, and all food brought in continues to support 46 community organizations across the Algoma District.

For more information about Harvest Algoma or any programs from United Way Sault Ste. Marie & Algoma District, please visit www.uwssmalgoma.ca.