Over a dozen volunteers gathered last week to harvest fruit from Snohomish County PUD’s Woods Creek Sustainability Center to donate to local foodbanks.
Volunteer harvesters, comprised of PUD employees and their families and members of a local 4-H Club, collected over 120 pounds of apples, Asian pears, and Italian plums to donate to the Mukilteo Food Bank and the Sky Valley Food Bank this summer.
The fruit was harvested from the Woods Creek Food Forest located on the site of the Woods Creek Hydro Project. This is the first year that volunteers harvested and donated food from the property. The endeavor is part of an overall effort to take the property, which has a primary purpose of generating electricity through a run-of-the-river hydro project, and enhance its ecological function and educational benefits.
“By supporting a food forest on the Woods Creek property, the PUD is able to provide a combination of community benefits including enhancing ecosystem functions, providing learning opportunities for school field trips, and volunteerism, all while providing a long-term food source for community members,” said Dawn Presler, Senior Environmental Coordinator in the PUD’s Natural Resources department. “Visitors can also see how the Woods Creek Hydro Project functions to produce clean and affordable energy for ratepayers while learning about how the PUD protects aquatic resources and surrounding wildlife.”
The fruit harvest is completed for this year, but PUD employees are looking to see if there is an opportunity to harvest the nuts that fall from trees this October and November. Next year, the PUD will continue to expand on the food forest concept and hopefully have an even more bountiful harvest to donate to local foodbanks.
“This was the first year for the food forest concept,” said Presler. “Volunteers planted 18 new fruit trees and 20 berry bushes last spring. Next year the plan is to plant another 10 fruit and nut trees, lots of herbaceous perennial fruit-bearing plants, ground cover, vines, and companion plantings to ward off pests. Most of the new plantings will take years to be ready to produce fruit, but while they grow, we will continue to harvest the established trees.”
For more information on the Woods Creek Hydro Project, click here