TreeMobile helps East Toronto residents protect the environment by planting and growing fruit trees

Non-profit environmental organization TreeMobile offers East Toronto residents a number of fruit-bearing trees and other plants. Photo: TreeMobile.

By ANSON WONG

TreeMobile in Toronto is offering one solution to protecting the environment — planting food-bearing trees across the city and beyond.

As a non-profit organization, TreeMobile sells and distributes a variety of fruit trees through the help of volunteers including a group in East Toronto.

The TreeMobile project is part of Transition Town, a global movement originating in the United Kingdom to increase community engagement and reduce fossil fuel dependency. Transition Toronto serves as the city’s chapter for the movement and organizes various projects of which TreeMobile is one.

“We do things we see need doing in the community that are going to be positive in terms of environment and community impact,” said Andrew Knox, president of Transition Toronto.

TreeMobile offers a service not available at most tree nurseries. When trees are purchased from TreeMobile, volunteers will plant the tree for you. Customers can also arrange for trees to be delivered to their doorstep. Both features are not readily available at most nurseries, Knox said.

Trees are not the only plants for sale at TreeMobile. Shrubs, canes, vines, and more, a total of 35 different plants, are available for sale. TreeMobile does not make a profit from the plants being sold.

Not needing to pay wages is a factor in keeping prices so low. Knox credits volunteers for helping their community rather than focusing on monetary gain. Before the COVID-19 pandemic, volunteers would help the purchasers plant the trees. Now, the rules have changed with social distancing guidelines.

“Most of the time people will just put a marker in their garden and we go in and we plant.” Said Virginie Gysel of TreeMobile.

Currently, the climate is too cold to cultivate plants. Deliveries are not expected to be sent out until May. Any sooner and the plants might die.

The pandemic meant the pportunities to buy new plants were scarce for Gysel last year. The demand for food-bearing plants has resulted in a lot of preorders, Gysel said.

TreeMobile is ready to go and volunteers have been trained in COVID-19 safety rules.

“We receive provincial guidelines and that’s all very clear,” Knox said. “We’ve actually assigned someone to monitor that for us so that we are following provincial guidelines.”

Interest in gardening has only boomed since the COVID-19 pandemic started more than a year ago. Gysel believes isolating at home to be an influence in the desire for a source of food that’s readily available.

For the best results, Gysel recommended a variety of plants. Fruit trees are unable to pollinate other trees of the same species. They can pollinate different varieties of the same species in a process known as cross-pollination. Outside influences like bees also play a huge role in pollination.

“I think I want people to understand that you’re going to get a lot of fruit out of this,” Gysel said, “I made something like 60 jars of jam, it was crazy.”

To contact Tree Mobile, please visit their website at https://www.transitiontreemobile.org/


Did you enjoy this article? Become a Beach Metro Community News Supporter today! For 50 years, we have worked hard to be the eyes and ears in your community, inform you of upcoming events, and let you know what and who is making a difference. We cover the big stories as well as the little things that often matter the most. CLICK HERE to support your Beach Metro Community News!