NOAHH Planting for the Future with NOFTP
This fall, the New Orleans Fruit Tree Project (NOFTP) will be bringing their trees to NOAHH’s homeowners! NOFTP is a program that harvests fruit throughout New Orleans to provide fresh fruit for local nonprofits that address hunger, including Second Harvest Food Bank and the Tulane Community Health Center at Covenant House. They have worked with NOAHH in the past and are currently partnering with us to bring satsuma, Meyer lemon, and kumquat trees to homeowners who opt in to their program.
The program began as an offshoot of the Hollygrove Market and Farm after NOFTP Executive Director Megan Nuismer completed her AmeriCorps year there. Her interest in food security and accessibility inspired her to find creative solutions, and soon, she was leading a handful of volunteers out with a ladder to fruit trees around New Orleans. They have grown from a 3,000 pound harvest to a 30,000 pound harvest in just three years, and they continue to grow and adapt.
They reached out to NOAHH because they knew NOAHH’s build sites were often in areas that lacked urban canopy and fruit trees. NOFTP and NOAHH will be planting trees throughout the fall through the Planting for the Future program, which was started by NOFTP with a grant from the city.
“By planting on these residential lots, NOFTP could increase access to nutritious, fresh foods while also adding to the urban canopy in these neighborhoods,” said Nuismer. “We hope that once the trees reach maturity families can enjoy the fruit with their friends and neighbors. We encourage any family who finds they have an excess of fruit to register their tree with us so we can harvest the fruit and donate it to those in need.”
The specific fruits were chosen because of their higher tolerance for colder temperatures and their popularity. According to NOFTP, Meyer lemons are a juicy citrus that isn’t quite as sour, and they have an edible skin that is used in many recipes. Satsumas are a local favorite that are known for how easily peeled they are (and are subject to one of many local festivals). And as for kumquats, Nuismer explained, are the only citrus that can be eaten whole.
“We are incredibly excited about this program and the positive feedback we have received already from the community,” Nuismer said. “We are ecstatic to have the support and partnership of NOAHH. We will be launching Planting for the Future again in the Spring and are hoping to reach even more homeowner in more neighborhoods across the city.”