What is Concrete Jungle?
Concrete Jungle is an Atlanta-based organization that collects fruit and nuts from public and private trees and then donates them to organizations that help hungry folks. They also have a farm where the grow produce. In 2015, they donated 3,684 pounds of food.
Additionally, they keep a map of Atlanta's fruit and nut trees and bushes.
On Tuesday I saw this Facebook post and jumped at the chance to help out!
What are Serviceberries?
Serviceberries (genus Amelanchier) are shrubs or small trees that produce edible fruit. They're native to Georgia and provide a good food source for wildlife as well as humans. Some varieties are popular ornamentals, with beautiful bark, flowers, and fall foliage.
The fruit looks similar to a blueberry. They are slightly sweet and very juicy.
Trees Atlanta appreciates serviceberries for the above reasons and has planted hundreds of them as part of their NeighborWoods and other planting programs. Georgia Tech's campus has almost 200 of them.
After the leader Craig taught us how to tell if the berries were good for picking, the eight or so volunteers began collecting berries. After only 45 minutes or so of work, and only harvesting 8 or so trees, we collected all the berries shown below (plus a few that we ate; let's be honest!) While we were there, a flock of cedar waxwings swooped through to eat their fill of the berries, demonstrating the usefulness of these plants to our native wildlife, as well.
How to Get Involved
The berry pick was a quick and fun opportunity to get involved and get to learn about this great source of food.
If you're reading this soon after I post it (or in a subsequent Spring), you might want to check out the Fruit Ramble. It's this coming Sunday (May 21, 2017). It sounds like a neat event where you can walk or bike to see 10+ species of fruit trees, and then there are several other fun activities as well.