I haven’t posted anything in a while due to, y’know, the crushing fear that no one will like me, but I’ve been meaning to start posting what I write again and I fell so in love today that I can’t NOT share it with you.
Yes, I’m in love. Again. With Toronto.
My love for this city is deep and meaningful and satisfying and more fulfilling than any relationship I’ve had before (sorry dudes), and every now and then something happens that ignites that spark in me once again and brings me to a whole other level of fondness. Today, it was my first Not Far From the Tree experience.
I moved in to my very own apartment last month (it’s probably one of the best things I’ve ever done for myself and I get to be naked soooo much more than before) and in my backyard (I HAVE A BACKYARD) there is a huge old cherry tree. It sprawls and shades and blossoms and, lo and behold, in the last week my cherries have grown up into gorgeous red rubies that sparkle in the sunlight. It’s beautiful. And delicious. And I had no idea how I was going to pick them.
Cue my neighbour, who told me she registered with NFFTT, a volunteer-based organization that sends crews of people out to harvest all the fabulous fruit Toronto trees have to offer. If you have a tree in your yard that you can’t quite pick yourself, register with them. They send a crew out and BAM! You get some sweet sweet local yums.
I got home today to four lovely people debriefing in my backyard and they quickly got to work! They climbed the tree, used ladders, grabbed branches…they did it all! I threw on some shoes and held a ladder while my dinner cooked, but aside from that, my fear of ladders pretty much kept me on the ground picking nothing but Instagram filters.
At the end of the pick, they divide the bounty up in to thirds; one third goes to the people doing the hard work, another goes to the homeowner/lucky renter, and one goes to a local shelter or food bank. The cherries from my tree tonight are going to Na Me Res, a Native men’s residence which makes me feel all warm and fuzzy, and my upstairs neighbour and I split our third between us.
THIS is not even HALF of the third my neighbour and I shared!
(I was tempted to take more since she doesn’t really like cherries, but didn’t want to be a greedy jerk. Next time.)
So why did this whole experience make me fall deeper in love with Toronto? Because simply put: I live in a city where shit like this happens. Strangers come into my backyard, pick my cherries, share them with me, get to eat them themselves, then donate even more to other strangers…it’s just such a fantastic concept and organization, and really gave me a sense of community that is sometimes hard to find in this big smoke. I fucking love this city, and I fucking love the people in it. And my cherries are fucking tasty.
If you have a tree in your yard that bears fruit you aren’t able to pick, I would really recommend giving Not Far From the Tree a holla and registering. Not only will it prevent all that fruit from dropping into your yard (which invites bugs, raccoons, smell and slippery decks), but think of the fantastic local produce you could be munching and sharing with new stranger-friends!
And if anyone wants to come over, there’s still probably 30lbs of cherries at the top of my tree they couldn’t reach. We need more local giant-people volunteer organizations who specialize in harvesting. Or: cherry picking drones.