Submitted

Groundswell Community Greenhouse and Gardens’ Apple Rescue season has come to an end, and this has been their biggest year yet. 

The valley’s bumper crops saw volunteers harvest 1.5 tons of apricots, pears, apples, and crabapples.  

Groundswell volunteers rescue fruit by helping those in our community who cannot harvest their own trees or have so much fruit they cannot process it all. Groundswell takes the fruit and then shares it amongst schools, daycares, and community organizations.

The Columbia Valley Food Bank is one such organization. This year, “fresh, local, organic apples increased our offering of fresh produce. Thank you, Groundswell, for rescuing this fruit. It was put to good use,” says Katrina Chapman, the food bank’s executive director. 

In addition to food sharing, a secondary goal of the program is to prevent bears from feeding in our yards and reduce human/bear conflict. This is important as already this year, the BC Conservation Officer Service reports more than 150 bears being destroyed, triple the number from the same period last year.

District of Invermere bylaw officer Mark Topliff says, “It’s been a good year for the bears, many having two or three cubs each. The conservation officers are working hard to keep the town safe and Groundswell’s Apple Rescue program is a big part of that.”

In 2018 when no other community group stepped up to take on this program, Groundswell decided to give it a try. That was six years ago. Today, Apple Rescue is thriving and has big plans for reaching even more homeowners in 2024. 

(Photo submitted)