Plantidote of the Day 2011-02-24
Yes, it's an ordinary, backyard orange tree. But keep reading. Because it turns out that a Southern California woman named Helena Davis came up with an ingenious way to use trees just like this one to help fight hunger . Plus, it's one of those ideas that could work in other areas with different fruit trees or vegetable gardens.
For anyone who's not familiar with Southern California, I should explain that there are thousands of trees like the one above in backyards. Most of the fruit -- usually oranges, tangerines and lemons -- ripens about the same time. The majority of these trees are very productive. Unfortunately, most of the fruit is not harvested and it's impossible for the average person to eat more than a fraction of it. The bulk of it falls off the trees and either rots or gets scooped into the trash. That's why Davis's idea is so inspired -- it costs almost nothing to provide people who need food with fresh, locally grown produce!
In a few months, a similar scenario is going to be taking place all over the country. When summer gardens are in full swing and you start wondering what to do with all those tomatoes, squash and cucumbers, please don't forget about food banks. If you are able to donate produce (or any type of food), you can find a food bank near you at either FeedingAmerica or Share Our Strength.
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Readers, please send twig (firstname.lastname@example.org) images and stories for the ongoing Plantidote of the Day series. In exchange, you'll win undying fame in the form of a hat tip! Plants growing in your garden, your house, or neighbor's yard, plants from the forest or farmers' market, plants you preserved, plants you prepared (wine; cider; tea; dried beans), plants you harvested (grains; chanterelles), plants you picked (flowers), plants you dried (herbs), plants you covet or hope to grow someday. Herbal remedies, propagation tips, new varieties, etc.. And if you can, include some solid detail about the plant, too -- a story, the genus and species, or where you got the seeds, or the recipe, or your grandmother gave it to you. Or challenge us with a "Name That Plant" mystery entry ... And please feel free to add corrections and additional information in the comments.
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