‘Golden Globes’ for everyone: Community Fruit Harvest Manawatū
Pictures of boxes groaning with ‘golden globes’ -lemons, tangelos, grapefruit- have dominated the Community Fruit Harvest Manawatū social media pages this winter/spring. It’s been an amazing season for citrus fruit in the Manawatū and it’s kept Volunteer of the Month, Debra Wynn, very busy!
Debra Wynn is Community Fruit Harvest Manawatū’s coordinator. The group has been active in the Manawatū since 2012 when a local chapter of this national organisation was started by Madz BatachEl. The group harvests fruit trees in people’s back yards and takes the produce to food banks, Just Zilch, and other sharing sites around the region. CFHM has had a high level of engagement from the public, and as a result have harvested and distributed hundreds of kilos of fruit this season.
Debra described herself as "a fruit tree addict. I do this for the trees. I love fruit trees and I think it’s important to share what you’ve got. Share the harvests."
Debra loves to see food being shared: "Every harvest is a highlight because we get to connect with people, building relationships in the community. I also love revisiting trees we’ve harvested before and observing the changes. This season we harvested off a 60-year old grapefruit tree. It was massive."
Debra says giving to the community in this way opens up many conversations about swapping and sharing ‘without strings’. "If you’re community-minded, the conversations just ripple out and out and it helps open people’s minds as to what else they might have which they could share."
As well as individual households, Community Fruit Harvest Manawatū also occasionally run large group harvests of orchards or farm produce not needed by farmers. "Keep an eye out on our Facebook page for those…usually in autumn, harvest-season."
Debra wants to encourage more locals to share their excess produce, "Give us your fruit, give us your vegetables and we’ll get it to where it’s needed. Help us feed people."