By Tori Scaven
Anyone interested in learning more about the food that grows on local trees can join in on a citrus harvest from 10 a.m. to noon on Saturday on the University of Arizona campus, hosted by LEAF on the UA Campus. The UA branch of LEAF, which stands for Linking Edible Arizona Forests, involves an effort to collect and use the citrus, olives, and other edibles that grow on campus trees.
Funded by the UA Green Fund, LEAF is already making a splash. Last November, LEAF members, UA students, and Tucson residents worked together to collect nearly 400 pounds of olives from some of the campus trees that line Park Avenue.
Its momentum only continues to pick up, with the March 8 harvest in near sight and another citrus harvest, planned for April 5, on the horizon. As Tanya Quist, director of the UA Campus Arboretum, emphasized, the UA has a “responsibility to capture and make use of the edible products obtained from the landscape,” and LEAF aims to do exactly that.
This Saturday’s harvest, led by UA student Ty Trainer, will focus specifically on collecting calamondin limes: small, tart fruits with a sweet, edible skin that are the result of a cross between mandarin oranges and kumquats. Those who attend will learn proper harvesting methods, along with many simple, calamondin-centered recipes for putting their harvests to use.
The idea is to teach people “how to turn sour into sweet,” mentioned Trainer, who is an intern both with LEAF and the Iskashitaa Refugee Network.
A large portion of the fruit harvested on Saturday will be brought to local refugees, thanks to LEAF’s partnership with the Iskashitaa Refugee Network, an organization that works with refugees from around the world to help them integrate into their new Tucson community. Iskashitaa Director Barbara Eiswerth has been contributing to LEAF’s success by sharing her knowledge from a decade’s worth of experience with the group, and refugees affiliated with Iskashitaa are expected to participate in the April 5 campus harvesting event.
Anyone and everyone is welcome to attend. Those interested should arrive on campus at Palm Road and Second Street around 9:45 a.m. on Saturday to sign in and get situated. The intersection is just east of the Department of Speech, Language and Hearing Sciences, which neighbors the Harvill building.
For more information, contact citrus intern Ty Trainer at 612-916-3314 or firstname.lastname@example.org, Tanya Quist at 520-621-1582 or email@example.com, or Melanie Lenart, project manager for LEAF on the UA Campus within the Department of Soil, Water and Environmental Science, at 520-465-6877 or firstname.lastname@example.org.