Community Street Trees
With the work being undertaken within the Food Security space in the Latrobe Valley, an initial concept of harvesting fruit from existing community trees developed into a project that would activate home owners, volunteer fruit pickers and food bank resources alike.
The idea of developing a tree planting program to support the community was raised at the Great Place Pillar Group late last year.
At the same time, related suggestions were raised during Health Assembly community consultation and through the Food For All Latrobe Valley program. One suggestion related to the “possibility of planting fruit trees on streets or parks for public use.” Further investigation has identified reluctance to proceed with this concept due to liability concerns.
The project has refocused on two delivery streams. Throughout October and November 2019, TAFE Gippsland has undertaken a mass planting program of apple trees at schools and kindergartens throughout the Latrobe Valley. This will provide fresh apples to school children for years to come while allowing TAFE Gippsland the opportunity to provide their Certificate IV Horticulture students with onsite experience and ongoing tree maintenance skills as TAFE Gippsland continue to care for the apple trees.
The second stream is investigating interest from community members who are willing to donate fruit from their trees in exchange for some volunteer help with the harvest. Fruit could then be split between the owner and the rest donated to local charity, for example the proposed FoodBank facility committed to by the State Government last year.
Community engagement has shown growing support for both volunteering gardening services and homeowners volunteering access to their established fruit trees. An information session is planned for late January 2020 for harvest volunteers and those wishing to provide fruit trees for harvest. Again it is hoped that TAFE Gippsland will become a delivery partner in this project to help with volunteer organisation, equipment/fruit storage and to provide students to help harvest the fruit again gaining valuable education outcomes in their studies.Further reporting on the development of this project will be issues in future updates of this document.