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Ottawa’s Hidden Harvest: Fruitful things afoot (and aground) in Ottawa

16 Jul Posted by in Canada, News, North America, Ottawa | Comments Off
Ottawa’s Hidden Harvest: Fruitful things afoot (and aground) in Ottawa

Social enterprise Hidden Harvest Ottawa (HHO) believes there are more than 20,000 fruit and nut trees hiding in plain sight in Ottawa’s National Capital Region, and “all too often,” they find, “the harvest isn’t used, as we don’t know it is there or it becomes a burden to the tree owner.”

Enterprise founders Jay Garlough and Katrina Siks are working to find these trees and share their fruit.  Launching this harvest season, HHO “seeks to support our urban orchard by connecting edible tree owners with volunteer harvesters” who can make good use of a harvest that would otherwise go to waste.  They also sell trees to ensure the initiative can continue. In short, the organization is about picking fruit, sharing it, and planting more trees.

Jay and Katrina have developed some great visualizations which you can check out below.  You can download their infographics and distribute them to your friends:  Apples & Land & Apples & Trees.

The graphic below shows that there are an estimated 300,000 trees on city-owned land, with 20% surveyed so far.  Of those surveyed, 4,216 trees produce edible fruits and nuts, including apple and crabapples, cherry and chokecherry, and Turkish hazel.  300,000 is a lot of trees, and Jay and Katrina will need help when some serious counting begins this fall.

If you live in the Ottawa area, you can join in the fun.  HHO is looking for volunteers to organize community harvest events (training provided), as well as volunteer harvesters and tree owners who would like the bounty from their edible trees to be put to good use (like pies – I can provide you with an address if you feel a penchant for baking them).

They will be selling fruit and nut trees for planting this fall to fund their ongoing good work. You can find out about volunteer opportunities and harvest locations by visiting their website at

Many of us have  stories of grandparents who taught us that food should not go to waste. Hidden Harvest connects local people with healthy local food. They offer Ottawa residents the opportunity to apply the wisdom of our grandparents, while building community and sharing fun.