About Us

We pick fruit and share it.
The 2023 season is now closed.

Did you know that there is over 1.5 million pounds of fresh local fruit growing in Toronto?

Not Far From The Tree is Toronto’s fruit tree harvesting program, founded in 2008. We pick fruit in people’s yards – what we call Toronto’s urban orchard – and share the bounty with organizations that feed our fellow Torontonians. When a tree owner can’t keep up with their harvest, we mobilize a volunteer team to pick the fruit, and then split it ways: 1⁄3 to the tree registrant, 1⁄3 split amongst the volunteers, and 1⁄3 donated to one of our social service agency partners. This simple act brings Torontonians together, empowering communities to reduce food waste, increases access to fresh fruit, and to helping us live more sustainably in the city.

Any additional fruit above and beyond what our agency partners have capacity for is directed towards revenue-generating partnerships, such as collaborations with local breweries or hosting food skills workshops.

NFFTT supports social agencies such as shelters, food banks, community fridges, housing programs, and meal programs. Clients of these agencies are low income, seniors, youth, families, Indigenous peoples, racialized communities, LGTBQ+, women and children fleeing violence, people experiencing housing instability, and newcomers to Canada, who are experiencing disproportionately higher levels of food insecurity and poverty.

We typically deliver fruit to agencies via cargo bike to reduce our impact on the environment and demonstrate that a low-carbon food distribution model is possible. We envision a Toronto where urban fruit harvesting is a viable food access strategy, and where our urban orchard unites communities in the shared pursuit of social, environmental, and food justice.

In order to achieve this vision, we:

  • Pick and share fruit to reduce fruit waste and associated GHG emissions, and lessen our impact on the environment
  • Build community by bringing Torontonians together to harvest local fruit from city trees
  • Increase access to healthy, local fruit by sharing the harvest with communities who experience food insecurity
  • Raise public awareness of Toronto’s urban orchard as a viable source of fresh fruit
  • Promote the health and sustainability of the urban orchard by building community capacity in fruit tree care, stewardship, and planting
  • Strengthen food skills in communities experiencing food insecurity by offering fruit preserving and other skill-building workshops
  • Provide an opportunity for city people to enjoy a social outdoor experience that boosts physical and mental wellbeing

Our Mission

Our mission is to harness the power of fruit trees to create healthy, resilient, sustainable and connected communities across Toronto. We empower Torontonians to pick and share fruit that would otherwise fall to waste while providing opportunities to connect more intimately with their neighbours, environment, and food system. We act as, and empower people to be stewards of the urban orchard to ensure its benefits can be realized for many generations to come.

Our Vision

We envision a Toronto where everyone has access to the urban harvest as part of a resilient, local food system that builds community, and is based on the value of shared abundance.

Our Team

Julia Girmenia

Julia Girmenia

Project Director

Rachel Lissner

Rachel Lissner

Program Manager


For inquiries and collaborations, email us at info@notfarfromthetree.org.

Not Far From The Tree is a project on MakeWay’s shared platform, which provides operational support, governance, and charitable expertise for changemakers. The shared platform enables more time and money to go towards achieving greater impact. MakeWay is a national charity that builds partnerships and solutions to help nature and communities thrive together. With the shared platform, MakeWay projects benefit from the support of a mission-aligned community, charitable expertise, and shared administrative resources including: governance, compliance, financial management, human resources, risk management and grants administration. MakeWay has full fiduciary and governance responsibility for Not Far From The Tree.

Not Far From The Tree is guided by a volunteer Steering Committee and is also supported by committees focusing on program development and fundraising.

Steering Committee Members

Ali  Abbas 

Anne Lemesurier

Chris Rotolo

Jordy Gold

Maddie Emberson, Chair 

Niya Bajaj

Reem Dabbous

Walter Sisti

Fundraising & Events Committee

Anne LeMesurier

Kat Sylvester, Chair

Program Working Group

Jenna Hossack 

Niya Bajaj, Steering Committee Member

Vincent Chamberland

If you’re interested in getting involved, email us at info@notfarfromthetree.org

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