It is no secret that Toronto, “A City Within a Park” is justifiably proud of its urban forest. Just last week, the Globe and Mail reported that the one hundred and sixteen species of trees that make up the city’s ten million trees are worth an estimated seven billion dollars, that is, 10 million trees at a replacement cost of 700 dollars per tree. According to the Globe, the urban forest provides the city with 80 million dollars in environmental and cost savings per year, broken down as follows:
- $53.95-million from the reduced strain on water transportation and infrastructure thanks to rain and wet-weather flow interception
- $19.09-million from air pollutants absorbed, removed and avoided by street trees
- $6.42-million from energy saved through shading and climate moderation
- $1.24-million from carbon sequestration and emissions avoided through energy savings
The amount of particulate matter removed annually by Toronto’s urban forest is equivalent to the amount released by over one million cars or 100,000 single family homes, the report calculates.- Globe and Mail
Pretty awesome stuff, but it gets better! Have you ever walked through your neighbourhood and marvelled at the bounty of fruit growing around you? Many of our urban trees are full of apples, cherries, plums, mulberries…you name it! And a lot of this goes to waste every year, our streets “littered” with abundance sadly going to waste. Happily for us, we have foundations like Not Far From The Tree to help us out.
“Not Far From The Tree is Toronto’s very own fruit tree project, inspiring Torontonians to harvest, share, celebrate, and steward the bounty from our urban forest as a way to connect more intimately with a sound environmental way of life. The way it works is simple: When a homeowner can’t keep up with the harvest from their fruit tree, they let us know so that we can mobilize our volunteers to pick and share the abundance: 1/3 goes to the homeowner, 1/3 goes to the volunteer pickers, and 1/3 gets delivered by us, via cargo bike, to local social service agencies such as food banks, shelters, and community kitchens. By inspiring Torontonians to harvest, share, celebrate, and steward the bounty from our urban orchard, we facilitate positive actions that can transform our urban spaces and communities.”-Not Far From The Tree
Not Far From the Tree has been picking fruit from Toronto’s urban forest since 2008. Working with homeowners, volunteers and local community agencies, they help to ensure that this often neglected bounty does not go to waste.
Not Far From The Tree estimates that 1.5 million pounds of fruit grows in the city annually, including lesser known fruit and nuts like ginkgo, serviceberries, black walnut, crab apples, mulberries and dogwood cherries.
To raise awareness for their programs as well as raise funds to expand their reach, Not Far From the Tree is launching Fruitful: A Community Backed Preserve Initiative. Interested individuals can buy shares and at the end of the growing season are entitled to a variety of preserves that will be created by five local preserve artisans: Brad Long of Brickworks/Belong, Christine Manning of Manning Canning, Julian Katz of Stasis Preserves, Thomas Wilson of Spirit Tree Cidery and James Partanen of Parkdale’s West EndFood Coop.
All monies raised from Fruitful will go to support Not Far From The Tree’s fruit picking and sharing program in Toronto.
“I am thrilled that Not Far From the Tree approached to me to be part of this wonderful initiative,” says Christine Manning. “I have partnered with them in the past to offer a family style preserving day, and I love the idea of being a part of the effort to help reduce the amount of fruit that is grown on city trees that simply goes to waste.”
To find out more about Not Far From the Tree, to have a gander at the delectable treats these artisans are offering, and to participate in this amazing initiative, just click here.