Frugal Harvest

Frugal Harvest

Frugal harvest: let's go to apples and much more on the Plateau!

This year, the Association des résidents du Plateau (ARP) and Horti-Cité are working together to set up the Récolte Frugale dans notre quartier project, a citizen fruit and nut picking initiative in urban areas. Will you be with us?

 The Récolte Frugale project is  led by Horti-Cité, an organization whose mission is to transform Gatineau into a food city and increase the resilience of our communities' food system. By encouraging the citizen participation of fruit tree owners and volunteer pickers, the Récolte Frugale  project aims to fight against food waste and promote local food in Gatineau.

The concept, a team of volunteer pickers goes to public land or to private homes with one or more fruit trees. One third of the harvest is given to the owner of the tree, the second third is shared among the volunteers involved in the harvest, while the remaining third is generously donated to organizations that fight against food insecurity.

Do you own fruit trees on the Plateau? You will be double winners! In addition to contributing to a good deed, you will benefit from the help of a team of enthusiastic volunteers. This team will be accompanied by experienced Horti-Cité picking chefs who will assist you in harvesting your fruit trees. As you know, this can be a daunting task if you are alone or have little time to devote to it.  Volunteers will agree to respect the rules of decorum during interventions.

Urban harvesting, conclusive experiences

A first version of Récolte Frugale was initiated between 2017 and 2019 by Ms. Lynne Champoux-Williams followed by a version 2.0 in 2021 as a Horti-Cité pilot project in the Wrightville neighbourhood. Building on this experience, Horti-Cité aims to expand the project in several neighbourhoods.

This initiative is in line with many urban fruit picking collectives that have been operating for more than a decade, such as Hidden Harvest in Ottawa and Les Fruits Défendus in Montreal. In 2022, each of these two collectives organized more than 80 urban fruit harvests, cumulating between 2600 and 4600 kg of fruit[1][2]. These figures illustrate the considerable impact of this type of collective when citizens join forces, generosity and community spirit. Imagine what the city of Gatineau and the Plateau could become in the years to come.

Why the Plateau?

Our neighborhood is full of fruit trees, making it an ideal place for such an initiative. In addition, if the owners of trees in the Plateau come forward, the fruits harvested will go to the Food Bank Le Chemin, partner of Moisson Outaouais and the ARP.  Fresh fruit will be given to residents and families of the Plateau who need it. Food insecurity is increasingly hitting our community, especially with soaring prices. This is a great opportunity to make a nice gesture while reducing the environmental footprint. Indeed, Horti-Cité will have electric cargo bikes specially equipped for the transport of crops.

How to participate

If you own a fruit tree or want to get involved as a volunteer picker, fill out the form at this address: A Horti-Cité member will contact you for next steps. You can contact them directly if you have any questions about the Frugal Harvest project  at: [email protected]

Feel free to share this information with your neighbours, friends and fruit tree owners in your area. You can also plant a fruit tree in your garden. Fruit production may take a few years, so you'll be ready for years to come.

If you wish to get more closely involved in projects related to fruit trees on the Plateau (or any other project), do not hesitate to contact the ARP at: [email protected]

Join us in this great adventure. Together, let's cultivate the Plateau, let's root mutual aid!

Sonia Ben-Amor

Member of the Board of Directors, ARP