The League of Urban Canners (LUrC) was founded by Sam Christy in the late fall of 2011 when he and some friends from the Somerville Yogurt Making Coop harvested and canned a couple hundred pounds of unwanted apples and grapes growing in yards and over driveways in Somerville, a small city just outside of Boston. By the end of 2012, armed only with a simple flyer offering owners a percentage of preserves in exchange for their fruit, they had harvested and canned over 4000 pounds of a dozen different kinds of fruit.
In just a few years, LUrC has built a database of over 300 fruit trees and arbors and has agreements with owners to harvest just under 100 of these. In addition, as carfree advocates, many members of the group complete their work using pedal (and foot) power and a really long bike trailer!
LUrC is organized on a community cooperative model and does not have any full or part-time staff. Members of the group share in organizational tasks as needed and most of the decisions are made by consensus.
LUrC practices an alternative economic model of food production where members of the community work together to produce food for themselves. Many people are faced with a dilemma: corporations produce goods efficiently through the economies of scale, but they tend to place profit over access to quality food and sustainable environmental practices. On the other hand, the independence represented by the DIY food movement is inaccessible to many people who lack the skills and time needed to “DIY” all their basic needs.
LUrC attempts to offer the best of both worlds: working together, members of LUrC share resources and skills, achieve an economy of scale, and create a sustainable community of people who have learned to rely on each other and care for each other.
To keep up with LURC's activities, please join our Google Group listserv. You can also connect with us on Facebook, or send questions to urbanapplesauce (at) gmail (dot) com.