Back in 2010 and 2011, the newly-formed Skookum took on management and support of the Skookum Gleaners project, which had formerly been known as the Powell River Fruit Tree Project. Member Anne Michaels was the coordinator, and we put together a team to support her and get some picks and other fruit-tree activities going. In the end, it became difficult to give Anne the support she needed, and regretfully the Skookum board decided to shelve the project after the 2011 fruit season.
The good news is that this project is back. David Parkinson has decided to take on management of the picking activities and is also working on coordinating some fruit-processing activities involving Skookum members.
Plans are evolving, but the general idea is to make picking opportunities available to Skookum members, and to plan some group processing activities using one or more church kitchens in the region (to keep costs down for participants). David is hoping to generate some revenue through sales of processed fruit so that the project can become more self-sustaining. But the main idea is as always: to save more food from going to waste; to reduce bear incidents; and to share food-preservation skills and food.
You’ll be hearing more as time goes on, but for now here are some ways that Skookum members can help:
- By donating picking equipment (ladders, baskets, etc.);
- By offering up fruit from your trees or from your neighbours’ trees, if it looks as though they won’t be using all of their fruit;
- By making a vehicle available for picks;
- By sending us your great ideas and suggestions;
- By volunteering to help process fruit.
Saving fruit that would otherwise go to waste, processing it for longer-term storage, and distributing it into the community is the kind of project that a cooperative is perfect for. Eventually it would be nice to see this summertime project evolve into a year-round series of opportunities for our members to produce, preserve, and share more food amongst themselves.
Stay tuned for more news and more opportunities to pick fruit and get together with others to preserve the fruit.