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This year marks a decade since an Atlanta nonprofit began its work collecting discarded fruit and produce and in turn using it to help feed the city's homeless and food insecure population.
A group of friends initially started Concrete Jungle as a small operation.
In 2011, when we did our first story on Concrete Jungle, the organization was averaging around 1,000 – 1,500 lbs. of fruit per year donated.
Since then the total has jump up by more than 30,000.
This past year, the group donated about 32,000 lbs. of fruit. All of it going to organizations serving Atlanta’s poor and hungry.
“Yeah, I did not expect for things to reach this scale,” said Craig Durkin, one of the founders of Concrete Jungle.
Durkin and several friends started Concrete Jungle back in 2009. It started with the group collecting ignored apples from the side of roads, next to buildings.
After several years of noticing the increasing scale of fresh produce going to waste, they started Concrete Jungle.
“Each year we pick only a small percentage of what we know about. We have a big map with a bunch of fruit trees on it and we'll pick only three percent of those and we are just like, 'Oh man we still have so long to go.' We also keep discovering new stuff,” Durkin explained.
The organization has gotten a lot of buzz around metro Atlanta over the years.
They average about a thousand volunteers a year to help pick fruit. They've hosted a fruit picking symposium and even started doing cooking demos.
“We are going to try some different models. Maybe have a satellite organization in Athens or something like that. People do the mini Concrete Jungle there,” said Durkin.
“It has become much more mainstream. People want fruit trees in their yard now and they didn't before,” he mentioned.
Durkin says the non-profit's goal is to continue to expand its reach and put more emphasis on nutrition.
If you would like to learn more and are interested in volunteering, click here.
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