The national campaign aims to help give 150,000 pear trees a home
Translated by Thomas Ansell
An initiative called ‘More Trees Now’ (Meer Bomen Nu) is attempting to save 150,000 pear trees that were destined for culling- by distributing them for free across the Netherlands. The trees were initially destined to be sent around the world, but their export has been cancelled due to the Coronavirus outbreak, reports the Omrop Fryslân. Meer Bomen Nu’s plan is instead to see how many trees can be given out for free.
Around 16,000 of the trees will come to Friesland this weekend, with anyone able to go and pick a tree or three from locations in Leeuwarden and Heerenveen. Locations across the Netherlands are also taking part, with trees also available in Groningen city.
That’s quite a lot of trees to re-locate, but project leader Tsjeard Hofstra is confident that the initiative will be successful: “we held a test-run in Utrecht, and in a short time had dispensed 3,000 trees. This is a larger campaign, with more locations. The Omrin in Heerenveen have really helped, and their enthusiastic people hare a big support. They have 8,000 trees ready to be handed out, and they can be taken away from 09:00 (the end time differs per location). People can take a maximum of 50 trees, and we’ve made it into a ‘drive through’ so that we can maintain social distance. In Leeuwarden, the De Zwette business park will have 4,000 trees to be dispensed, which can be obtained from a building on the James Wattstraat”.
The trees are fruit bearing, says Hofstra: “the growers use them in a different way to keep production running, but now they can’t be exported they were destined for destruction. So, we are hoping that more people will plant them and eat their fruit.”
Meer Bomen Nu is a national campaign, with the aim of planting one million extra trees in the 2020/21 growing season. “We’re currently busy with our one million tree project. A fruit-grower then came to use and said that they had trees to donate- and we were expecting about 40,000 trees. But then the grower said to us ‘I’ve got about 150,000’. We thought ‘this is really something for us, let’s see what else we can do’. We’re sharing these trees with anyone that wants one in their garden- that could, for example, also be a school or youth centre”, says Hofstra.
And so, 150,000 pear trees will be handed out across the Netherlands. There will be no charge, but people can also donate to the project, says Hofstra: “the transport costs have been covered by out partner, and we’re setting up a QR-code system so that people can donate. We’d be really happy if people could make a symbolic donation of, say, one euro per tree. Nothing is required, but everything helps! Anyway, what could be more lovely than your own pear tree in the garden?”
There are around 15 tree locations across the Netherlands, and the Meer Bomen Nu website even has information about planting and caring for your tree.
Heerenveen: Ecopark de Wierde, Saturday 22 August, 09:00-13:00
Leeuwarden: De Fabriek, James Wattstraat, Saturday 22 August, 09:00-17:00
Groningen: Tuin in de Stad, Tarralaan 6 (Hoogkerk), Saturday 22 August 13:00-16:00
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