Edible Landscapes – Picking with a Purpose

26 Feb 2020, by Admin in Harvest VISTA, National VISTA, Society of Saint Andrew

Harvest Against Hunger Capacity Vista Mykevia Jones serves at Society of Saint Andrew Florida, a nationwide, faith-based, ecumenical, nonprofit ministry operating a variety of programs that fight hunger in America. The Society of Saint Andrew’s gleaning network coordinates thousands of volunteers with local farmers to actually enter fields and groves after the harvest, and pick up the tons of good purchase left behind and distribute of these loads to large food banks. Thus far in 2019, our dedicated volunteers have collected 2,765,729 pounds of produce that have been distributed to 148 different agencies throughout the state of Florida.

In backyards across Central Florida, fruit is ripe and ready to be harvested. This is the time of year that the Director of Missions at St. Luke’s United Methodist Church solicits nearby residents that have fruit trees in their backyard or have access to fruit trees in their neighborhoods to donate unharvested fruit to the Society of St. Andrew.

On Saturday, February 1, with a team of 11 volunteers and SoSA staff picked citrus at 4 different locations. The team picked 17 bags of grapefruits, 21 bags of lemons, 17 bags of tangerines and 87 bags of oranges totaling approximately 1,136 pounds. The citrus was distributed to the Eatonville Neighborhood Center for Families and the Orlando Union Rescue Mission Men’s and Women & Children’s shelter.

When folks think about gleaning, oftentimes mile-long rows of crops are visualized forgetting edible landscapes are embedded everywhere in our community from state & local-owned parks, backyards, gardens, and more. Urban foraging educates and promotes the planting of fruit & nut trees, bush berries, medicinal herbs, and other temperate and tropical vegetables as a viable way to produce food locally. Residential gleans are a great way to demonstrate the benefits of edible landscapes and highlight the impact of incorporating food-producing plants in our community.