I currently participate in fruit sharing, and I think it is a fantastic way to preserve fruit trees and shrubs destined for the axe and to prevent unwanted fruit from going to waste. An elderly neighbour of ours had a huge three-row raspberry patch - more than he was able to pick. Since much of the fruit goes to waste, one row of raspberries was removed. I think row two was destined for the same fate, but I came along last year and started picking it. I'm helping again this year, and in exchange, I bring him goodies of canned raspberries and jam - things he won't bother with at his age, but surely enjoys.
Fruit sharing creates a wonderful, mutually beneficial relationship. Many older properties come with mature fruit trees and raspberry patches. Elderly folks who own these older properties cannot climb the ladders to pick the apples, or bend over to clean the ground up when they fall. I think that while most do not want to see the trees go, they can no longer keep up with the work either. I know of many such properties where fruit trees or shrubs have been removed for this very reason. It is such a shame, especially when there are people out there who would love to have access to such fruit and would be glad to help out maintaining the trees or shrubs in exchange. The key is linking these two groups up.
Fruit sharing organizations are popping up around North America, and I encourage you to look for one in your location if this interests you. Barring an official organization, put the word out with different community organizations or church groups, put up notices on local bulletins or newspapers or just get to know your neighbours and ask them. The neighbour where we get our raspberries is delighted that my son and I come to pick. He is just so happy to see the patch remain and to see the fruit get utilized that he wants nothing in exchange!
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