If you’ve walked around your neighborhood, you’ve probably noticed cherry trees being flocked by birds and buckets of fruit with “Free Organic Apricots” signs. Yes, it’s harvest season in Albuquerque. Have you ever wondered what becomes of all that fruit?

Back in 2014, avid canners and food preservers Erin and Trista noticed fruit trees around Albuquerque going unpicked. They placed an ad on Craigslist, asking for access to unused trees. The response was overwhelming, and this local chapter of the Food is Free Project, a global movement started in Austin, Texas, began.

Food is Free Albuquerque (FIFABQ) harnesses the abundance of fresh food within our community and connects it to people in need. The nonprofit considers fresh food a human right and aims to reduce food waste while fighting for food equity and access to fresh and nutritious food.

Volunteers help to harvest fresh food throughout Greater Albuquerque and Santa Fe. They then distribute the fresh food throughout the community in which it was gleaned to keep food as local as possible. Last year, 26,315 pounds were harvested.

FIFABQ fosters social empowerment through the growing and sharing of fresh food, striving to tap into the abundant private food resources within our community and redirecting millions of pounds to those overlooked by the existing food system. FIFABQ harvests everything aside from crab apples, mulberries and prickly pears.

The produce is predominantly distributed through collaborations with various organizations committed to feeding the community citywide. Explore the list of their partner organizations on the website.

How can you help? If you have over 50 pieces of produce to harvest, you can harvest them yourself and schedule FIFABQ to come pick up and distribute the fruit. If you don’t have time to pick the fruit, you can schedule FIFABQ to harvest on-site.

For those with farms or orchards, you can schedule FIFABQ to harvest your farm or orchard. If you are interested in becoming a harvester, you can sign up as a volunteer.

Individuals and organizations who donate to Food is Free Albuquerque fall under the Emerson Good Samaritan Act.

Learn more about specific types of gardening here:

Food Forests a Prehistoric Agroecosystem for your Backyard

A Valuable Bosque Understory Shrub Clove Currants for the Birds, Bees and Butterfles

Fruit Trees for the Homeowner

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