Did you know there are 52 serviceberry trees on Ryerson University’s campus? 52! They are scattered around campus, tucked away beside buildings, along busy streets and walkways. The trees are incognito for most of the year, but for about 10 sweet days in late June they are bursting with delicious red and purple berries.
Earlier this week, we teamed up with the folks at Rye’s HomeGrown Community Garden to put these berries to good use. Rye’s HomeGrown is a campus group dedicated to urban agriculture, promoting environmental sustainability and food security.
Together, we gathered over 30 people on Thursday evening to harvest the trees. We were even joined by Gloria Nieto, a local photographer who covered the event for the Globe and Mail.
After about an hour and a half of picking, we gathered in the Gould Street Garden to weigh the bounty. We had harvested 35 pounds of tiny berries! If we had been able to weigh the berries in our bellies, it probably would have been more like 70 pounds!
We divided the harvest into thirds – one third was divvied up among the pickers (about two big handfuls per picker), and the remaining two thirds were squirrelled away to make preserves for the Community Food Room, an on-campus service that provides hunger relief for those struggling with financial obligations, poverty, and underemployment.
We look forward to teaming up Rye’s HomeGrown again on future projects. Special thanks to Catherine Lung, Program and Partnership Coordinator at Rye’s HomeGrown.