Les Fruits Defendus is Montreal’s volunteer-led urban fruit harvesting collective hosted by Santropol Roulant. The initiative connects local fruit tree owners with volunteer harvesters and helps ensure that this valuable local food resource does not go to waste. After the fruit is harvested, it is divided in three between the tree owner, volunteers, and a beneficiary organization. The collective leads fruit harvests in neighbourhoods in the central part of the city, including the Plateau and Mile End, Rosemont – La Petite Patrie, Parc-Extension, and Villeray.
Les Fruits Defendus aims to:
- Reduce food waste
- Make good use of local food and increase its accessibility
- Facilitate knowledge-sharing about urban fruit harvest
In our heartsFruit, people, nature, ideas, knowledge, skills.
In our life Health, accountability, ecology, sustainability, nature in the city.
In our actions Transparency, horizontal, creativity, multilingualism, intergenerational, down-to-earth, resilience.
In our community Solidarity, cooperation, encouragement, kindness, sharing,
acceptance, inclusion, diversity, openness!
The Many Roles in the Collective
There are many ways to participate in our collective. Tree owners, volunteer harvesters and beneficiary organizations each share a third of the bounty from each harvest!
Do you have a fruit tree or two in your backyard? We can come and pick the fruit for you when it’s ripe! We harvest cherries, Saskatoon berries, plums, peaches, pears, apples, grapes and more. We pick primarily in the Plateau but also in other areas of Montreal.
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We donate many kilos of fruit each season to local food banks and community organizations. The fruit is either fresh or transformed into delicious jams, sauces, or other preserved items.
Pick-leaders and Harvesters
Do you have a few spare hours to share the shade of a fruit tree with another volunteer, picking fruit? Each season, hundreds of Montrealers join us for picks, and volunteers help organize picks and events, present at urban agriculture events and more. Harvesters & helpers are also part of a collective that gathers for social and educational events.
Each season, about 5-10 members meet regularly to keep the collective thriving. We love fruit! Our decisions are consensus-based and driven by the collective’s values. Core members are recruited yearly before the season begins, but we’re always interested in hearing from enthusiastic people who want to help out anytime or be a candidate for next year’s core membership.
Keep in touch!
Frequently asked questions for volunteers
Head over to our Harvest Calendar to check out upcoming picks and sign up for one that interests you. Please note that signing up for a harvest does not automatically reserve you a place on the pick. Spots are limited and fill up fast so only those that receive a confirmation email from the harvest’s Pick leader will be asked to participate in the harvest. Our Calendar
No training is required to join us on a pick, but we do ask that you follow some basic guidelines that the pick leader will provide.
Volunteer pickers of all ages can join a harvest. However, for children aged 15 and younger, a responsible adult must be present to ensure that basic guidelines provided by the Pick Leader, are followed.
A Pick leader will contact you prior to the harvest to let you know if anything special is needed, but as a general rule, bring water, wear closed toe shoes and dress in comfortable clothing. Sun protection (e.g. a hat and/or sunscreen), some snacks and insect repellent are good to bring with you as well!
Unfortunately, there are limited spots available for each pick and they tend to fill up fast! Last minute picks are also posted on Facebook
so we suggest liking our page in order to learn about new opportunities. Insider tip: the surest way to secure a spot on a pick is to become a Pick Leader! Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org to learn more.
Harvests typically last two hours. However, the pick-leader will spend additional time before and after the pick doing additional activities, like transporting equipment to and from the harvest and bringing fruit to the beneficiary organization.
Pick-leaders make harvests happen! They organize and oversee picks, transport equipment to and from harvests, bring fruit to beneficiary organizations and log the day’s bounty in our system. If you’re someone who is not afraid to take charge, enjoys meeting new people and LOVES fruit, email us!
To join our amazing community of pick-leaders, you must first attend a 2-hour training session, which are typically offered in June, July or August. Email us to learn more!
Frequently asked questions for tree owners
Thank you for wanting to share your fruit with our volunteers and local community organizations! To register your tree, fill out the form (https://saskatoon.lesfruitsdefendus.org/harvest/properties/create_pending). Please note that registering your tree does not guarantee that it will be harvested. We rely on volunteers to pick fruit and their availability during the season determines the number of trees that are harvested.
We accept all fruit-bearing trees (and bushes and vines, too!) throughout the city of Montreal.
It is important to note that for the safety of our volunteers, our ladders limit how far our pickers can reach. If most of your fruit grows higher than this, we may not be very helpful in harvesting your fruit. If you’re unsure whether the fruit is reachable, fill out the form (https://saskatoon.lesfruitsdefendus.org/harvest/properties/create_pending), send us pictures to assess the tree accessibility, we will check it out.
As a volunteer-based organization, our ability to harvest fruit depends entirely on the availability of our volunteer Pick leaders. Unfortunately, this means that we might not be able to pick all the trees on our registry.
You do not need to be present for the pick unless you are needed to access the property.
A pick typically lasts two hours.
Having a ladder or garden scissors available for our pickers to use is extremely helpful, but not necessary to participate with Les Fruits Défendus.
For the safety of our volunteers, our ladders limit how high our pickers can reach. Fruit that grows above this point will be left on your tree, unless there is an alternative way to reach the fruit, such as an accessible roof.
You are not responsible for a volunteer’s injury. Any injuries are Les Fruits Défendus’ responsibility.