Not Far From the Tree

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Brief description of the organization

Not Far From The Tree is Toronto’s fruit tree project, making sure that the fruit growing amidst Toronto’s urban canopy is picked, shared, eaten, and enjoyed. The core of its programming is the residential fruit-picking program, where fruit tree owners can make use of the abundance of fruit that their trees offer with the help of teams of Not Far From the Tree volunteers who harvest it for them. One third goes to the fruit tree owners, another third goes to the volunteers for theirNot far from the tree image labour, and the final third is distributed (by bicycle or cart) to community organizations in the neighbourhood who can make good use of the fresh fruit.

What do you think are the most pressing food and agriculture issues facing Ontario?

  • Fading knowledge of where our food comes from and a global food supply that obscures this information
  • People feeling so distanced from their food sources that they don’t even know where to begin learning or helping out
  • Many opportunities to research or learn about local food systems but few hands-on opportunities for people to get involved in making a difference, at least not without being in a role of ‘consumer’

What policies could best address these issues?

Municipal governments should publish a statement about fruit trees on public lands, so that community groups and residents would know that it is safe to have fruit trees in the city, just as municipal by-laws against pesticides help create a provincial movement to ban them.

What role do you see Sustain Ontario playing to address these issues?

Sustain Ontario could help confer a provincial meeting or conference about fruit tree projects. Not Far From the Tree learned from the group in Hamilton and have since helped other groups form across the province. Sustain Ontario could also help organize a one-day seminar on how a small organization like Not Far From the Tree could influence policy for food security and food sovereignty.