The Portland Fruit Tree Project
is a non-profit organization which, in the words of its 2010 Firelight Award for Best New Nonprofit Organization, has made Portland a "better place to live, love and grow." Started in 2006 as the Neighborhood Fruit Tree Project, its missions is to "increase equitable access to healthy food and strengthen communities by empowering neighbors to share in the harvest and care for city-grown food resources."
The project registers fruit and nut trees throughout Portland, Ore., and brings volunteers together to harvest fruit from these trees, which would otherwise go to waste. The fruit is then distributed to people who need it around the city. They also provide workshops on tree care and food preservation.
According to the project's website, in 2010, 49 harvesting events were coordinated in which 408 volunteers harvested more than 29,397 pounds of fruit, which would have otherwise been wasted. Half of the fruit goes home with the volunteers who harvest the fruit, while the other half of the fruit harvested is donated, reaching more than 2,900 families in need through local food pantries.
Over all, the Portland Fruit Tree Project is a great way to volunteer, harvest some delicious fruit for free that would otherwise go to waste, and give back to the community, helping families to thrive in Oregon.