Home Harvest program picks excess produce from Calgary gardens, donates to charities

CALGARY — A program that brings together Calgarians with an abundance of fresh fruit and vegetables growing in their yards with organizations who feed people in need has returned for a second year.

Volunteers with the Leftovers Foundation’s Home Harvest program will come and harvest delicious produce and donate it that same day to service agencies including Calgary Community Fridge and Calgary Dream Centre.

“We support charities across the city,” explained Shelby Montgomery, vice-president of programs for the Leftovers Foundation. “All of Leftovers’ food we first try to get into charities in Calgary, today we are harvesting rhubarb from our lovely growers back yard and today that rhubarb is going to Calgary Community Fridge.”

In its first year, the program accumulated a total of 876 pounds of fresh produce in Calgary and Edmonton and expectations are high entering this summer.

“We have some program goals but I think for us the sky is limit,” said Montgomery. “Really, the more people (that) sign up as growers, the more opportunities we have.”

Syma Habib has recently signed up as a volunteer and says she’s looking forward to making a difference.

“An experience that a lot of people who are maybe struggling financially don’t get to have is to have fresh local producer,” said Habib. “The ability to harvest it and know somebody gets to have that experience of something that’s been grown in the ground an nourished by me and that they get to eat it feels very special.”

To sign up to donate as a grower or as a volunteer for harvesting, visit Leftovers Foundation.

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