fruits of the city
Sep 26, 2014 • By

How do you enjoy the fruits of your labor?

We need to get to know each other better.

That was one of the goals of our newly created work team. We solve the difficult technical needs of several of our most popular brands. We use our technical prowess to tackle complex issues every single day, but we realized that the key to our future success depended on our collaboration skills as well. So, instead of the usual banal introductions, we planned a social activity.

As a group of logical scientists and engineers, we attacked this “get to know you better” problem rationally — we assembled a list of possible activities and voted on our favorites. The ideas that rose to the top were “get outside” and “volunteer in our community.”

Enter Fruits of the City.

general mills employee volunteer

One of our team members remembered that an apple orchard near her home had previously donated part of their crop to food shelters. Their crop of “State Fair” apples was almost at the end of apple picking (or “gleaning”) season. As luck would have it, Fruits of the City organizes gleaning sessions for fruit donation to Minnesota food shelters and kitchens.

If farmers have any leftover fruit after they’ve sold their crops, Fruits of the City can make sure the apples get to people who need them. But only if they have enough volunteers.

The window for donation harvest is very narrow — at the end of the season, before the fruit spoils. So we had to work quickly.

fruits of the city

Collect only apples that have not touched the ground. Do not harvest any apples with visible damage. Anything else was fair game — no apple was too small or insignificant for our boxes.

Our team enjoyed the cool weather and light wind that kept the mosquitoes away. Throughout the course of the morning, we split into small groups and moved down the rows and rows of trees. We chatted as we harvested, shared past experiences and made new connections. Turns out an orchard is a nice change of scenery from the office!

general mills foundation

Although we were only scheduled for the morning, everyone stayed late to finish collecting all the edible apples from the orchard. And in the end, we’d collected two pallets — more than two tons of fresh apples. They will be split between food shelves and kitchens served by the Second Harvest Heartland organization.

fruits of the city

Our entire team greatly enjoyed the day and look forward to enjoying the fruits of our labor again next year.

To learn more about Fruits of the City (an organization that’s part of the MNProject and sponsored by the General Mills Foundation), and how you can get involved, visit

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