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Page last updated at 15:30 GMT, Friday, 25 September 2009 16:30 UK
Gathering an abundance of fruit

Picking fruit
Harvest festival: if you've got more fruit than you can eat, then call Abundance Manchester

Manchester may not spring to mind as a fruit-growing region but gardens across the city are brimming with produce just waiting to be picked.

A cold winter and a warm spring have produced a bumper crop of apples, pears, plums and so on and one group is working hard to gather it in before it goes to waste.

ABUNDANCE MANCHESTER
Apples
operates in Chorlton, Whalley Range, Moss Side, Rusholme, Didsbury and Ladybarn
will harvest unwanted fruit and veg from gardens, public trees and allotments
fruit is distributed to groups and communities in need
Tel: 0772 960 4862 or contact by email (see link below)

Abundance Manchester aims to harvest surplus or unwanted fruit from gardens and public trees around South Manchester and distribute it to local groups and communities who need it.

They also collect and distribute surplus vegetables from people's allotments.

Leonie Morris one of the group's organisers, said she got the idea while working for a tree surgeon.

"I was going in a lot of gardens and seeing the amount of fruit that was on the trees. And most people who owned those trees didn't use the fruit at all," she said.

"So, all around us, there is lots of food, even in the city, and we want to use that so it doesn't lie on the ground rotting."

David Murphy has a garden in Didsbury with several fruit trees. This year there's been a bumper crop of apples and pears, and he can't eat them all himself. His neighbour's daughter suggested he contact Abundance.

"There are clearly too many apples here for us," he said, "so I'm quite happy to let other people have them."

Nicola Scott, another volunteer said: "When we first came to this garden we were amazed by it, it's like a mini orchard and it's only about four miles to the city centre."

Surprisingly, some people don't eat the fruit from their own trees.

Penny, one of the volunteers, said: "There was one tree we picked and the owners said we don't eat them because we buy all our apples from the supermarket."

Fresh

An hour of picking can harvest as many as ten boxes full of apples.

Leonie Morris
There is lots of food, even in the city, and we want to use that so it doesn't lie on the ground rotting
Leonie Morris, Abundance Manchester

Some of the fruit is turned into juice, chutneys and crumbles and is delivered to groups like The Boaz Trust project for destitute asylum seekers, Safestop hostel for young homeless women and Cornerstone, which provides meals for homeless people.

Leonie Morris says: "The groups that we give to are amazed by how much we've got to give them. Lots of them can't normally afford to buy fresh food and especially not fresh, local, organic food".

The variety of fruit that can be found growing around a city like Manchester is surprising.

"Raspberries, strawberries, blackberries, blackcurrants, redcurrants, apples, pears, plums, cherries…. they're all things that I've picked in the last few months not from people's gardens," said Leonie.

"It's also about recognizing it as fruit," she added. "People are quite nervous about eating apples on a public tree because people are so disconnected from their food that they don't know if it's safe or not."

Bike

As well as being free, the idea is also sustainable. The fruit is transported a few miles by bike trailer and it's not packaged.

Leonie says: "It just seems like common sense to be using all the resources that are around us rather than investing loads of energy and money into importing food from other countries.

"A lot of people have become disconnected from their food and where it comes from.

"People go into a shop, they hand over some money and get food that's packaged and has gone on a long journey, often from another country and people aren't used to seeing exactly where it's from."

The group has also started its own allotment because of demand from charities.

If you have a fruit tree in your garden, you can contact Abundance Manchester by phone on 0772 960 4862 or by email at abundancemanchester@yahoo.co.uk




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