Our press release for the three harvesting groups below. We made p3 of the local paper here!

Fruit picking groups in Brent have started harvesting local fruit that would otherwise go to waste in local gardens. Two Transition Town groups (Kensal to Kilburn Fruit Harvesters and Willesden Fruit Harvesters) along with Mapesbury Residents' Association (MapRA) pick fruit which they share with local schools and community groups.

Last year the three groups between them collected over three tonnes of apples, pears, elderflowers, plums, grapes, blackberries, mulberries and medlars. The fruit is given to local schools and charities including the MS Society, the Salvation Army, Mayhew Animal Home, St Mungo's, Brent Food Banks, and church homeless groups, and is made into delicious juice, chutney, jam, jelly, cider and wine.

Kensal to Kilburn Harvesters are gearing up for their showcase stall at Queens Park Day on Sunday 18th September, where they make and sell hundreds of glasses of fresh apple juice using a traditional fruit press.

Janey McAllester from “Kensal to Kilburn Fruit Harvesters” says, ““It's such a great feeling to lead a pick of fruit that would otherwise rot on a lawn and give them to our friends who cook for and run the local food bank - feeding those in need from local trees!

“We'll be juicing local apples and selling chutney made from them at Queen's Park Day, and hope to meeting people who would like to join us picking or have us pick their trees - it's always such a great way of introducing what we do.”

Viv Stein from “Willesden Fruit Harvesters” says, “Picking fruit is great fun for people of all ages, it helps out tree owners with too much fruit, and is much appreciated by local community groups. So far this season we've had a fun day out blackberrying, picked a hundred and fifty kilos of fruit from local gardens, and are making jam from our local bounty.

Gerry Weston from MapRA says, “There seems to be plenty of fruit this year; we are looking for more people to get involved.”

Local Fruit Harvesters was set up in 2009 by Brent residents Michael Stuart and Viv Stein, and has become part of the borough's two Transition Town groups - Kensal to Kilburn and Willesden, and taken on by MapRA in Mapesbury. The Willesden group pick fruit in Willesden, Dollis Hill and Cricklewood. The award-winning project is part of the national Abundance Network. The fruit gets shared out between garden owners, volunteer pickers and distributed to local schools, charities, restaurants and shops on a non-profit basis. The projects have also trained over seventy people to prune fruit trees. To get involved email kensaltokilburnharvesters@gmail.com, willesdenharvesters@gmail.com, or gerry@mapra.org.uk.

More pictures here

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