By utilizing edible trees and shrubs around Town, accessibility to fresh produce connects the community.
Harvest High River is a partnership between the Town and Wild Rose Food Connections. It was introduced in September 2018, aiming to provide residents with access to fresh produce from the Town’s edible trees and shrubs.
Sarah Bruinsma, the Program Coordinator for Wild Rose Food Connections, found inspiration for this initiative from another town. “I knew that High River had an inventory of edible items, although I didn’t realize how large!”
Found all over Town, many of the trees and shrubs have begun to bear fruit. Darlene Donovan, Parks and Facilities Supervisor with the Town, mentions that Saskatoon berries, cherries and gooseberries are ready to be harvested. Plum trees are starting to develop fruit, and the apples and pears need more time to ripen.
This initiative increases food security, and fosters a social connection. Executive Director of Wild Rose Community Connections, Marianne Dickson, says“a responsive town builds stronger linkages with citizens and motivates us all to look for ways to continue to embrace our collective efforts to make High River an amazing place to live, work and play.”
There are a few guidelines to ensure that everyone enjoys this program. Donovan reminds residents to treat the trees with respect. “A few of the edible trees are memorial trees, and it is really important to keep in mind that those trees hold great significance for someone.” It is also important to respect private properties, and avoid picking near roadways. Lastly, be sure to enjoy your freshly picked produce, and share with your neighbours by picking only what you need.
For more information on the location and types of edible trees and shrubs, visit the Harvest High River Map at highriver.ca/parks-and-greenspaces.