It's busy season for Nanaimo's volunteer gleaners, who are out to pick excess produce from backyards and farms before it goes to waste.
Fruit picked by the gleaners gets donated to the food bank, the Salvation Army food kitchen, the Nanaimo 7-10 Club and churches as well as being taken home by volunteers.
Wendy Rayner, a volunteer of eight years, filled large bins with purple Italian plums from a tree in a Nanaimo backyard with three other gleaners on Thursday.
"Being from Ontario, here, it's like Jurassic Park. The fruit is everywhere," she said.
"A lot of fruit goes to waste in the Nanaimo/Lantzville area."
Rayner said she got involved when she noticed the huge amount of fruit going bad in the area, and started knocking on doors asking people if they were going to pick their trees.
"A lot goes to waste," she said, gesturing to a pile of rotting plums.
"I mean, even if you look at what we just scooped up just because they phoned a little too late."
Lee Sanmiya, who co-ordinates the gleaning program under Nanaimo Community Gardens, said while volunteers like Rayner will door knock, the gleaners mostly rely on people to call them to pick produce up.
"Our main focus is just to make sure it gets used," said Sanmiya.
"There's less emphasis on donation and more emphasis on just not wasting it and getting it out into the community."
Sanmiya said plums, apples and pears get wasted by people the most, while peaches, cherries and figs usually get picked. "We're (really) busy now. It's starting to pick up quite a bit," she said.
"It's understandable. People are busier than they used to be. People don't make apple pies and freeze them anymore."
One volunteer, Cameron Smith, said he had a huge haul last month that would have gone to waste otherwise.
"We took 2,700 pounds of corn out of a field," he said.
"That's a lot of corn." The volunteer gleaners can be reached at 250-816-4769 or email@example.com CMcKenna@nanaimodailynews.com 250-729-4230
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