Each year many apples remain unpicked around our area and go to waste while many people are going hungry. For many, this contradiction does not sit well.
Certainly there is a disconnect between the abundance of apples, the economics of low profit margins versus labour shortfall, and the demand for locally-grown and accessible nutritious food for those in need.
Fortunately, herein lies an opportunity for such a program called ‘Second Harvests’ to established.
Many residents in the Meaford and surrounding area are working towards diverting good food, that would otherwise go to waste, into the bellies of those who are hungry.
“Good food should not go to waste if it can feed people who are hungry. We need to work as a community to ensure that everyone has access to quality food. Nature, alongside humans, produces more than enough food to feed us all – if we can connect those to nutritious food that would otherwise go to ‘waste’ we will all be better for it,” says Jaden Calvert, co-coordinator of Meaford Community Gardens.
Second Harvests is not a new community benefit idea – they are successfully rooted in cities such as Barrie, Guelph, and Toronto. The Second Harvest model is a success as harvests are split three-ways between the homeowner or orchardist, volunteer pickers and community beneficiaries.
When a local resident, Rob Mahy, saw a need for apples for the local Meaford Community School student nutrition program, he called out to the community and a local apple orchard with a bountiful amount of apples to be harvested came to mind. The orchard went un-managed for about year and the apples were destined to fall and decompose as there were no plans for the apples to be harvested.
Since the discovery of this opportunity to divert good food to those hungry in our community, Rob Mahy, members of the Meaford Community Gardens group, many of the members of the Knights of Meaford hockey team, including the coach of the team Brian Fish and other members of our community have been harvesting the apples. In addition to the apples being offered through the Meaford Community School student nutrition program, the apples have been offered through the student nutrition programs at St. Vincent Euphrasia School and Georgian Bay Secondary School as well as through the Golden Town Outreach food bank.
Jaden Calvert and Ivan Chanare two inspired local food advocates keen on launching the Municipality of Meaford’s very own Second Harvests program. To help with apple and other food harvesting and processing, or to learn more about how to get involved in the Second Harvests program and/or if you know where there is surplus food that can be harvested, contact Jaden Calvert at firstname.lastname@example.org and/or 519-538-0628.