Creston Valley residents with overabundant gardens or unpicked fruit trees once again can turn to Harvest Share for help.
“Our aim is to harvest produce that would otherwise go to waste, and to make it available to people in need,” program co-ordinator Alexandra Dansereau said last week.
Harvest Share uses volunteers to harvest the fruit and vegetables. Volunteers can keep one-third of what they pick and the remainder is divided between the property owner and local agencies that pass on the produce people with low incomes.
“We are very fortunate to have our sponsors — Columbia Basin Trust, the Town of Creston and the province of British Columbia,” Dansereau said. “And our volunteers are great. But we could use more. …
“One of our goals is to provide support for people families in need by providing excess, good quality produce to them through local agencies.”
Those agencies include the food bank, the Therapeutic Activation Program for Seniors, the Kootenai Community Centre Society, the community resource centre and several churches. Erickson and Canyon-Lister elementary schools and the College of the Rockies also participate.
“Harvest Share works to support the Bear Aware program, too,” she said. “By eliminating food sources in town we can reduce conflict between bears and humans.”
Dansereau invites calls from those with excess produce. She can be reached at 250-402-3291 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Although the program has 30 volunteers, more are welcome.
“We’ve picked about 850 pounds of cherries already,” she said last week. “Right now we are also trying to plan a workshop or two on preserving produce — not everyone knows how to keep fruit and vegetables for use over the winter.”
She said she also hopes the relationship with local schools continues.
“Last year, kids from Canyon-Lister, Yaqan Nukiy and PCSS came out to help,” she said. “It raises their awareness of what is going on in our community and lets them participate in a meaningful way. And they get to eat some of what they pick, which helps educate them about the benefits of locally grown food — they are very aware about the need to reduce our carbon footprint.”