Edible Tree Tour showcases the bounty of Toronto’s urban forest
(August 25, 2012) Today Amanda Gomm, Manager, Volunteer & Community Engagement, LEAF ( Local Enhancement and Appreciation of Forests), Susan Poizner, Coordinator, Growing for Green and Laura Reinsborough, Founder & Director, Not Far From The Tree, conducted an Edible Tree Tour designed to showcase the many edible tree delights found throughout the city.
“It’s absolutely amazing how much food the urban forest produces every year,” said Ms. Gomm. “While we often think of apples and other fruit, this tour is designed to expose the public to the many other edible delights that can be harvested from such trees as honey locust, Japanese maple, magnolia and others - all of which can be added to an urban foodie’s pantry.”
The tour began in Ben Nobleman Park, home to Toronto's first community orchard in a public park, located across the street from the Eglinton West Subway Station. The orchard was spearheaded in 2009 by the eco-gardening group Growing For Green, in partnership with the fruit harvesting group Not Far From The Tree. Its success highlights the potential for green spaces in every community across the city and illustrates what can be accomplished by a dedicated group of people who are passionate about building a stronger, greener community.
“Our Edible Tree Tour has introduced hundreds of Torontonians to the abundance of fruit and other food we can enjoy eating and growing in our city,” said Ms. Poizner. “From nibbling on wild berries and crabapples in our ravines to growing fruit in our parks and gardens, participants are inspired by the bounty we can grow and enjoy here in our urban environment. We are so proud to be involved and to share our experience as the founders of the Ben Nobleman Park Community Orchard.”
As the tour moved onward through the neighbourhood Laura Reinsborough of Not Far From The Tree described how volunteers harvest fruit through their residential fruit tree picking program.
“We help fruit tree owners make use of the abundance of fruit that their trees offer by dispatching teams of volunteers to harvest it for them,” said Ms. Reinsborough. “One third goes to the fruit tree owners, another third goes to the volunteers for their labour, and the final third is distributed (by bicycle or cart) to community organizations in the neighbourhood who can make good use of the fresh fruit so everyone benefits.”
The Edible Tree Tour is one of an ongoing Tree Tour program developed by LEAF to tell the stories of the urban forest and the people and places it sustains.
For information on the organizations hosting this tour visit:
LEAF is an incorporated, not-for-profit organization dedicated to the protection and improvement of the urban forest. Since 2006, LEAF has hosted over 80 Tree Tours in diverse communities across Toronto and York Region challenging the way citizens view the urban forest and empowering them to take action. For more information, or to get involved, visit yourleaf.org.