Tons of food drops from trees or goes bad in gardens around Kamloops every year.
The Kamloops Gleaning Abundance Project is one month into operation and already has salvaged more than 360 kilograms of food, with 225 kg of it donated to various aid organizations.
It has 75 volunteers and 50 homes registered.
And it's just sprouted.
Krystal Williams, project co-ordinator, said Thursday the goal for the end of this year is to have gleaned more than 450 kg of food, at least 100 more volunteers and 200 homes on file.
The project, which has funding for three years from Interior Health, is like a tree that spreads its limbs each year.
This year it was about getting rooted; next year the aim is to expand and by the third year it's to be successful in putting the fruit into edible products and for sale.
The project works like this: homeowners register (in advance of ripening time so there's time to co-ordinate volunteers) their fruit trees, volunteers come and pick when it's ripe and leave some for the homeowner, the remaining fruit goes to a list of agencies to hand out or to be turned into food for sale through a social enterprise.
Just how many people are involved with making sure the project is a success was evident at the press conference for the official launch Thursday.
Representatives were on hand from city hall, Interior Health, a neighbourhood association, the Kamloops Aboriginal Friendship Centre, the Kamloops Food Policy Council, Royal Inland Hospital Foundation and other parts of the community.
Mayor Peter Milobar said it was easy for the City to get on board since it has already backed community gardens and public produce programs.
"You guys are so successful at what you do," he said.
Not only does the project provide food for those in need, but there's another benefit, too, he said, "hopefully we can keep the bear numbers down, too."
Food policy council president Laura Kalina said food security has been a work in progress in Kamloops for more than 20 years, from community gardens and kitchens to Heartland Foods and Food Share programs.
Food isn't the only thing being shared in the program. Information and successes will be passed on to other communities so they can start their own gleaning, she said.
"When healthy people eat healthy food, they don't have to access health services," said IHA community nutritionist Rose Soneff.
Heidi Coleman, chief executive officer of the Royal Inland Hospital Foundation, agreed.
She even lent her yard and plum tree for the press conference and photo-op of the mayor in gleaning action.
Coleman's husband Glenn Hilke is heading communications for the program. He said the overall goal is to get people from all walks — science, education, arts and culture, business, social groups — involved in gleaning.
"We want to make this a success by decentralizing using neighbourhood associations."
Williams said she'd encourage people with trees to sign up now before they forget over the winter. Calling when the fruit is ready is too late.
She'll be compiling a database that will show what fruits are ripening and where in the city.
For more information, go to the Kamloops Gleaning Abundance Project on Facebook, or online to www.gleaningabundance.com or call 250-851-6111.