Fruitful idea to share bounty from our gardens

By Anne-Marie Emerson

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Seeing fruit rotting on the ground has sparked a Wanganui East resident to start a scheme to help put that fruit to good use.

Nicola Young has kicked off a community initiative for people to donate excess fruit to the Wanganui foodbank.

Mrs Young wants residents with fruit trees to consider donating some of their produce to the foodbank, or to other needy people in their community.

"Walking around the streets, you notice so many properties have wonderfully abundant fruit trees. It seems a waste for fruit to fall to the ground and rot when there are people struggling on tight budgets, especially with growing children."

Mrs Young also hopes the initiative will help form links within the Wanganui community.

"This is an easy way for people to make a small difference with little cost or hassle. And good things may flow from a small gesture," she said.

Mrs Young said her own garden has a plum tree which in summertime overflows with fruit, and she enjoys sharing it with neighbours.

"[Last summer] we made heaps of plum paste and gave some away to our neighbours, and were given some venison as a thank you. A very tasty return on investment."

Mrs Young said while giving to the foodbank was her preference, people could donate to anyone.

"It doesn't matter who you share with - your local primary school, a rest home or just each other, it's hugely worthwhile," Mrs Young said.

Wanganui Foodbank co-ordinator Linda Taumoeanga said Mrs Young's idea was "wonderful".

"It's a great idea and we're certainly looking forward to being able to give fruit out to people.

"A lot of our clients can only buy the basic necessities. Fruit is quite expensive, so it often gets a miss."

Mr Taumoeanga said while the foodbank had its own vegetable garden, and also received donations of vegetables, people seldom donated fruit.

She said it was difficult for the foodbank to deal with fruit because it had such a short shelf-life. However, that was about to change.

Mrs Taumoeanga said the foodbank had received a grant to buy a chiller.

"We just have to choose the right one, so by the time people start donating fruit we should be able to store it properly," she said.

Mrs Young is willing to pick up people's fruit for the Wanganui Foodbank. Contact her on nicola.young@aecom.com. Or fruit can be dropped off at the foodbank, 183 Wicksteed St, between 9am and 1pm.

- WANGANUI CHRONICLE

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