A FRUITFUL MISSION
By: Steve Ott
As summer changes to autumn, thousands of gardens bear an overwhelming abundance of fruit. In many cases much of this fruit is forgotten about, left to rot or finally cleared away to the compost. Fruitshare is about making this forgotten fruit available for others to use, whether for jams, puddings, juices, wines or ciders.
The idea for this fruit sharing enterprise sprung from a conversation Sharon Hockenhull, founder of Fruitshare, had with one of her clients. “They were overwhelmed and puzzled about what to do with the amount of fruit …their neighbour’s apple tree dropped in their garden!” Sharon explains. Not quite Newton’s falling apple moment, but an idea Sharon has been passionately pushing forward ever since. Officially the initiative was launched at the 2009 RHS Flower Show at Tatton Park and now the website has been redeveloped in collaboration with Richard Borrie who runs Orange Pippin [an online shop and resource for apples and orchards www.orangepippinshop.com] to include a more sophisticated database. Richard spotted Sharon’s prototype Fruitshare website following a chance encounter on Twitter.
“I immediately saw this was an idea of the moment and exactly the kind of collaborative project that Orange Pippin tries to promote – but also that it needed a proper database behind it to allow people to register their details and match their requirements with others with fruit surpluses available nearby – which is what I could help with.” Explains Richard.
The new website allows people to register as a Fruitsharer or Fruitseeker and post details of their surplus fruit on a ‘Fruit Available’ list or post their requirements on a ‘Fruit Wanted’ list. The scheme has also been redeveloped not only to be a national initiative, but to allow people from countries all over the world to benefit from the facility. Now here we don’t mean people living in Nottingham, UK flying over to pick up surplus plums in Nashville, USA… but rather the Nottingham folk network with each other and the Nashville folk get together to exchange these fruits.
Ultimately, Fruitshare it is about passing on unwanted fruit. It encourages the local distribution of food that would otherwise go to waste, making our gardens more resourceful and sustainable. It is the perfect way to reduce fruit miles, as fruit grown in nearby gardens is as local as it could possibly get… not to mention the freshest and most likely the tastiest too.
“Fruitshare will play an important role in future gardening. More and more people are growing their own, with many schemes promoting productive gardening, including the planting of more fruit trees. We seem to be getting back to the Good Life virtues of self-sufficiency and doing our own little bit for the environment. It is only a matter of time before there will be even more gardeners puzzling over what to do with all their fruit; hopefully Fruitshare will be their first port of call.” Says Sharon
The Fruitshare website address is www.fruitshare.net. With the autumn harvest season upon us we are now on a mission to spread the word about our new fruit sharing initiative.
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