Organizing volunteers to harvest urban fruit trees and share the fruit with the community

The FruitSave Project is a local gleaning program that organizes volunteers to harvest backyard fruit that would otherwise go to waste.  This naturally grown fruit is shared between the homeowner, the pickers, the Valley’s many emergency food providers, and CGC’s programs, such as our cooking classes.

Please note, the 2016 FruitSave season will commence this June. Stay tuned for updates and details. If you are interested in become a FruitSave volunteer or if you have a fruit tree that needs picking, please submit your online application today (see green buttons below!).

Why is this project important?

95% of the food we eat on Vancouver Island is brought in by ferry, often after travelling thousands of kilometers, and yet we have one of the finest climates for growing food in Canada. Backyard fruit trees in the Valley offer tonnes of nutritious food every year, but much of it falls to the ground uneaten. Now there is a way to get this fruit to those who need it most, and to learn how easy it can be to feed ourselves with beautiful, wholesome, Cowichan-grown food!

Who benefits?

Homeowners get their fruit trees picked and windfall apples gathered for free and are left with 1/3 of the harvest. Not only will their yards be cleaner, but they can also feel satisfied that the fruit from their trees will help many people throughout the community.

Harvesters can enjoy some sunshine and gentle exercise with a friend while picking and then take home 1/3 of the fruit if they wish.

The Community benefits from donation of fresh, local food. The FruitSave Project supports many organizations, such as:

  • Cowichan Valley Basket Society
  • Community Options Society
  • Cowichan Independent Living
  • House of Friendship

How can I help?

Becoming a Team Lead

CGC would like to create as many opportunities to harvest fruit as possible. In order to do so we need people to lead teams of pickers. Please let us know if you can help! CGC will connect Team Leads with trees in their area, and help to coordinate each pick.

Here’s what is involved:

  • Assess the safety of a tree(s) for picking
  • Liaise with the tree owner
  • Receive emails from interested pickers, respond to questions, and let them know where the tree is and specifics about the site
  • Pick up ladders from CGC or arrange for another picker to do so
  • Promote safety during the pick and while loading fruit into vehicles
  • Take some fruit to the regions emergency food providers or arrange for another picker to do so


If you’d like to get involved, or have questions about this great project, please contact the FruitSave Team, at

Project News

  • Before Your Plate

    Before Your Plate The Before Your Plate program is getting ready to run its Second Term from January 10th to April 13th, 2017. Interviews are still taking place until January 10th. Applicants interested in applying can contact Alyssa Loucks at alyssa@c …

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Upcoming Events

    • Organic Master Gardener Course

      Tuesday, March 28, 2017 - Thursday, May 18, 2017
      Organic Master Gardener in Duncan! CGC will host this dynamic 8-week course from Gaia College March 28 - May 18 (Tuesday and Thursday evenings). Learn the foundations of organic land care - topics include: soil biology, botany, composting, soil fertility, waterwise gardening, permaculture, garden installation, tree pruning, landscape health, and garden design. Be prepared for a paradigm shift! Tuition: $695 + GST Space is limited, register early! Register at the Garden Pantry Store, 360 Duncan Street, Duncan. There will be a FREE information session on Monday March 14th at 6:00 pm at CGC. For more information call Nora at 250.748.8506
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