Donate to Calgary Harvest!

We made a plan for increasing our capacity to harvest more trees registered with Calgary Harvest that we will be implementing for the 2021 season. We’re pretty excited! In order to launch our plan however, we need to raise funds and so we need your help.

For 2021, our fundraising goal is $35,000. If you would like to support us in reaching our target, please consider making a small donation to Calgary Harvest (but we’ll take big ones too!) to help us get there. Calgary Harvest runs on the free time of two volunteers and has only limited funds. The plan described below describes how we intend on using the donations to achieve our 2021 goals.

The plan

We will create a powerful tree management system that will significantly increase the efficiency of the operation of the project by allowing us to do more communication in much less time. We need funds to procure the expertise and software needed to create this new resource. Using this newly improved tree management system, we will decentralize how the harvest works by creating the ability for interested tree owners to host their own picking events. This way, harvest events can be initialized by those tree owners and proceed when dedicated volunteer staff are not available. Historically this has been the biggest limit to our ability to harvest more trees.

We will be also be using funds to compensate staff to assist with managing Calgary Harvest because the project is growing to a size that is beyond capacity of its current volunteer directors.

Finally, we will be focussing on procuring new types of equipment that we prototyped in 2020 that allow pickers to harvest more fruit in much less time.

We have always been excited about the potential for Calgary Harvest to expand its reach, and with your help, we are going to see the operation accomplish much more than it’s been previously able to do!

How Calgary Harvest did in 2020

Calgary Harvest continued to grow last year, however, COVID 19 completely cancelled our harvest events for that year with our charitable partners. Despite this, we picked slightly more trees than in 2019, at 37 harvest events compared to 32 in 2019. This was largely in part because many of you, as tree owners, decided to host harvest events with our Calgary Harvest pickers without requiring a staff member on site. Thank you!

During the 2020 season, we ran three experiments that tested approaches to increasing our annual harvest, which we are excited to share:

  • #1: Faced with the realization that the amount of picks Calgary Harvest could do was limited by the amount of volunteer staff, we came up with the idea to ask tree owners themselves to host the picks without a Calgary Harvest staff member present. This experiment was successful because it increased the total number of harvest events. However we realized that this change has been confusing for many of you. This is something that will be fixed for 2021.
  • #2: We created a prototype for a special harvesting tarp that allows fruit to be shaken from the tree and acquired without bruising the fruit. The results were amazing; we harvested entire trees in less than a quarter of the time needed that we normally need. Given this result, we have designed a harvesting net that we’ll have manufactured for the 2021 season.
  • #3: For some of the trees that were not dedicated to community picks, we experimented with a service where a picker is hired to glean that tree. The results were promising, but more refinements to the approach are needed for 2021.

In 2019, we partnered with our first charitable organization The Mustard Seed, whose clients pick and use fruit from trees registered with Calgary Harvest trees. In 2020 We have confirmed another charitable partner, The Leftovers Foundation. While all harvest events with our charitable partners were postponed due to the pandemic, we look forward to a ‘fruitful’ season with our partners in 2021!

As of December, 5, we have raised $921 towards our $35,000 target. That’s 3% of the total.

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