For Christmas this year, hubby and I decided to give each other homemade presents. He gave me a beautiful picture he created (see his work at www.lightstrokes.org) and I gave him homemade limoncello liqueur.
A friend graciously allowed me to harvest the lemons I needed from her tree -- 14 in all. I thought it was very generous of her, and said so, but she said, "They'd probably just fall to the ground and rot if you hadn't picked them."
Hmmmm... How many other people have full trees that are going to waste?
Enter Tom Sumpter of Sacramento. The entire transcript of his radio interview can be found here: http://www.scpr.org/news/stories/2009/03/09/08_urban_fruit_030909.html but in essence he had a similar "aha moment" and decided to do something about it.
Sumpter organized teams of local folks who went picking. They found local homeowners with laden trees who were glad to donate their fruit in return for a clean backyard. The fruit went to an area food bank, hundreds of pounds in all.
It's a win-win situation for everyone. According to an article in a recent OC Register, food banks are giving out leftover holiday food and other mismatched types of items simply to be able to give out a bag of food. Fresh fruit would be a huge blessing for many people -- and yet it sits on trees in the backyards of people who may not have the time or energy to pick it. Having a group of people come to collect the fresh fruit and donate it for you seems like the best of all worlds.
It's food for thought.