The New Orleans Fruit Tree Project
The New Orleans Fruit Tree Project is a sustainable, community-based solution to food insecurity in the greater New Orleans area. Using a tree owner registration and volunteer time, The New Orleans Fruit Tree Project harvests fruits from private residential property in the city of New Orleans that would otherwise go to waste. The harvested produce is donated to local organizations that feed the hungry.
The New Orleans Fruit Project began in January 2011 as a program of Hollygrove Market & Farm. With just a 12-foot ladder, a couple of fruit pickers and a few dedicated volunteers, NOFTP harvested over 3,000 pounds of fruit from six New Orleans neighborhoods and one orchard in Belle Chasse during the 2011 Citrus Season.
January 2012 marked NOFTP’s second Citrus Season and a 10,000-pound goal was set. With the support of the Wisner Donation, a grant made available through the City of New Orleans, NOFTP was able to purchase more equipment and accomplish more harvests. From January to March 2012, NOFTP performed 26 urban harvests, 3 orchard gleanings, worked with over 35 volunteers and harvested over 10,000 pounds of fruit!
How it works
Fruit tree owners register their trees and notify NOFTP when their fruit is ready to be picked. NOFTP organizes a group of volunteers to come and collect the fruit, which is then donated, to organizations that feed those in need.
The New Orleans Fruit Tree Project aims to meet these objectives:
- Empowering residents of New Orleans to help feed their neighbors and utilizing fresh, local produce that would otherwise go to waste
- Increase the access of fresh, local produce to those who are most in need
- Provide an educational opportunity for volunteers by teaching the proper techniques of fruit harvesting and the overall importance of creating healthy systems of sustainable, cost-free ways of obtaining healthy foods
The New Orleans Fruit Tree Project operates through the generosity of tree owners who donate their bounty for harvesting. All trees are registered by their owners and harvested only upon request. We work with tree owners to assess fruit ripeness, site accessibility and schedule the harvest at the convenience of the owner. Tree owners are encouraged to join in the fun or can leave the work to us. Tree owners are welcome to a portion of each harvest or can choose to donate it all.