Giving back to our community, one fruit at a time
Not Far From The Tree is a Toronto-based fruit picking project inspired by 3 things: the spirit of sharing, the desire to give back to our community, and a passion for environmentally sustainable living.
Torontonians with fruit-bearing trees often have fruit to spare – everything from apples, pears and grapes to sumac, apricots and elderberry! Once they register their tree, we’ll pick their fruit and divvy up the harvest 3 ways: between the homeowner, our volunteers, and local food banks, shelters and community kitchens.
- How it works
Not Far From The Tree is Toronto’s very own fruit tree project, inspiring Torontonians to harvest, share, celebrate, and steward the bounty from our urban forest as a way to connect more intimately with a sound environmental way of life.
When a homeowner can’t keep up with the abundant harvest produced by their tree, they let us know and we mobilize a team of volunteers to pick the bounty. The harvest is split three ways: 1/3 is offered to the homeowner, 1/3 is shared among the volunteers, and 1/3 is delivered by bicycle to local food banks, shelters, and community kitchens. It’s a win-win-win solution!
- Who we are
Megan Anevich, Project Director
Lauren Ramsay, Program Manager
Lucas Meilach-Boston, Picking Program & Events Coordinator
Jordy Gold: Jordy was part of Not Far From the Tree’s first Steering Committee. He has worked on climate changes and corporate responsibility issues for years and has led numerous successful startups and campaigns like Change.org in Canada and a Nobel Prize for Malala. He now leads a new initiative called Shift where they support Canadian pension fund savers and their funds as they prepare for climate change-related risks and opportunities. Jordy was selected to be a CivicAction DiverseCity Fellow in 2015 and more recently he and Shift have been selected to be part of the Centre for Social Innovation’s Agents of Change program.
Lois Lindsay: Lois directs Evergreen’s Strategic Initiatives team, which works to develop emerging programs and partnerships. For more than 15 years, she has provided strategic support to Evergreen’s Children and Greenspace programs, and helped establish Evergreen Brick Works as a destination for green living, design, and urban sustainability. Lois brings a system-focused approach to her work, identifying the key levers of change that can help Evergreen achieve its mission to make cities flourish. She connects the dots between Evergreen programs so they can complement and reinforce one another, and is dedicated to creating novel ways for them to effect change in our urban communities. Lois holds a BA and MA from the University of Guelph.
Chris Rotolo: Chris is a data expert who, after spending decades working in full-service and multi-national marketing agencies, turned his passion and experience to helping organizations build positive, long-term relationships with their stakeholders. For more than ten years, Chris has created, revised and/or taught a range of courses for Canadian colleges and universities. On his own time, he works with sector development organizations to educate non-profit leaders on best practice. He also creates and delivers workshops to underserved communities to improve employment opportunities.
Walter Sisti: Walter is a Partner in the Indirect Tax practice at KPMG in Canada. He specializes in providing Indirect Tax – Advisory, Recovery, Compliance, Risk Consulting, and dispute resolution services to clients across a range of industry sectors. Ever since being introduced to NFFTT in 2011 by KPMG, he was inspired by NFFTT’s unique community approach to tap into Toronto’s local fruit abundance and divert the harvest to help social service agencies and reduce waste. Instantly Walter became KPMG’s self-appointed ambassador to NFFTT, and has served on NFFTT’s Steering Committee for the past four years.
Lars Boggild, Chair: Lars is a creative thinker working at the intersection of finance and social change. He is currently responsible for identifying and analyzing new lending partnerships for Vancity Community Investment Bank, Canada’s first bank dedicated entirely to community development and environmental sustainability, where he is regularly inspired by citizen-led innovation and its ability to strengthen communities. Prior to this role he worked at Purpose Capital leading impact investing advisory projects that helped organizations build practical strategies to deploy more of their investments towards social and environmental good.
Rebecca Mackenzie: Rebecca loves Canada and local edibles and that her career enables her to explore Canada and the globe, connecting people across the agriculture and tourism industries to grow a “taste of place”. Passionate about the interrelation between food, agriculture, tourism, arts and culture, Rebecca has been instrumental in developing tourism products including Prince Edward County’s award winning Taste Trail and the CTA’s Feast On certification program. Born and raised in Toronto, Rebecca spent her summers in rural Ontario. In her grade 12 year of high school, Rebecca sailed on a 156-foot tall ship to 20 countries in Europe and Africa – an experience that rooted her passion for travel and adventure! She still splits her time between Toronto and Prince Edward County, and practices her craft for food tourism with her own experience – the Terroir Run.
Janey Law: For almost two decades, Janey worked exclusively in the public accounting sector as a chartered accountant at Ernst & Young in Toronto and London UK, and at Canada’s audit regulator. She then decided to learn to fly airplanes and is currently pursuing her private pilot license out of the Island Air Flight School based at Billy Bishop Toronto City Airport. Between flying and starting a business on the side, Janey helps her sponsored Syrian newcomer friends adjust to life in Toronto, volunteers as an administrator for her church, and runs her household.
Not Far From The Tree was founded by Laura Reinsborough and is a project on Tides Canada’s shared platform, which supports on-the-ground efforts to create uncommon solutions for the common good. Tides Canada is a national Canadian charity dedicated to a healthy environment, social equity, and economic prosperity.
Tides Canada’s shared platform provides governance, human resources, financial, and grant management for leading environmental and social projects across Canada, allowing projects to more effectively achieve their missions. Tides Canada has full fiduciary and governance responsibility for Not Far From The Tree.
- Where we pick
Not Far From The Tree’s fruit picking and sharing program operates in 14 of Toronto’s 44 city wards (see map below). If you’re in our operating area and would like to share the fruit from your tree, be sure to register your tree here .
If you’re in Toronto but outside of our operating area, we encourage you to register your tree with us anyway. We hope to grow our program, so if and when we start picking in your neck of the woods, we’ll let you know!
- Our history
Approximately 1.5 million pounds of fruit are produced from Toronto’s urban canopy each year, and yet most of this goes unpicked. Not Far From The Tree sprang to life in 2008 as a bright and hopeful solution to this surplus of local fruit.
During our first harvest season, we picked and shared over 3,000 pounds of fruit from one neighbourhood with the help of crew of 150 volunteers. We’ve grown a lot since then! So far we’ve:
- harvested over 148,000 pounds of fruit;
- donated more than 39,000 pounds of fruit to over 30 local social service agencies;
- registered over 1,600 trees for our fruit picking program; and
- rallied more than 2000 volunteers to help with the harvest.
Not Far From The Tree has received a number of awards and accolades over the years, including:
- Bicycle Friendly Business Award
- Vital Ideas Grant from the Toronto Community Foundation
- Green Toronto Award
- Tides Top 10 Award from Tides Canada Initiatives Society
- Urban Leadership Award for ‘City Soul’ from the Canadian Urban Institute
- Environmental Award of Excellence from the City of Toronto
- Named 1 of “50 Reasons to Love Toronto Now” by Toronto Life
Our founder, Laura Reinsborough, has also been recognized for her work with Not Far From The Tree:
- Invited to speak at TEDxToronto
- Named one of Toronto’s “best & brightest” under 30 by Post City Magazine
- Gaea Environment Award from the Women’s International Film & Television Showcase
- Women of the Earth Award from the Yves Rocher Foundation
- Vital People Grant from the Toronto Community Foundation
- Named an Agent of Change by the Centre for Social Innovation
- Featured as a GreenHero on GreenHeroes TV
- How it works
Not Far From The Tree is committed to principles of dignity, independence, integration, and equal opportunity. For more information please see Tides Canada’s Accessibility Policy and Plan.