Storm run on free pear trees: ‘Everyone helps each other’

All over the Netherlands people are allowed to pick up pear trees for free. 150.000 self-pollinating conference pear trees are looking for a new home. The grower wants to get rid of them because his cold store has to be emptied before the load of new trees arrives. Normally the pear trees go abroad, but due to the corona crisis they could not be shipped.

Because the grower couldn’t get it over his heart to get them through the shredder either, he contacted the initiative More Trees Now to give them away for free. There are now fifteen locations throughout the Netherlands where the trees can be picked up.

Tomorrow you can do that in Heerenveen, where the trees have already been put along the road:

At the pick-up location in Leeuwarden it was incredibly busy right from the start this morning, reporter Roel Pauw told the CCeit Radio 1 News. “There’s a very long traffic jam now. This morning someone came with a trailer to pick up fifty trees for a food forest. But I also saw people taking saplings with them on a scooter and under the straps of a bicycle.”

According to Pauw, the action brings a lot of togetherness and that is also the experience of the Hilversum Joke Verrij, who was tipped off about the action by her daughter-in-law. “When we were almost at the pickup location in Breukelen, I thought ‘maybe more people will like it’. I threw it in the neighbourhood tap and immediately got a lot of reactions from people who also wanted one. In the end I took 35 and since yesterday I’ve lost them all.”

The farm where the trees could be picked up was situated on a narrow dirt road. “With all those cars driving to and from it, it was all a bit of fitting and measuring, but the atmosphere was good,” says Verrij. “Everyone helped each other. For example, there was an elderly lady with a trailer on her bike, and I helped her to load five trees on it. It’s a wonderful initiative because it’s better to plant trees than destroy them.”

Tiles out, trees in it

Sustainability organization Urgenda is one of the organizations behind More Trees Now, which aims to give away 1 million trees for free this winter. Tjeerd Hofstra van Urgenda was also in Leeuwarden this morning.

“We hope that many private individuals will be able to make a start on their greening plans with these trees. Because nowadays almost all gardens are tiles. So if we take the tiles out and we put a pear tree in it now, I hope that another tile will go out and another plant will be bought somewhere near a garden centre” In Leeuwarden the action was a great success, all 4000 trees were gone within 45 minutes.

Free pears for everyone who wants them, but a donation is appreciated to cover, for example, the transportation costs of the trees. Hofstra: “It would be nice if people symbolically want to donate 1 euro, for example. It doesn’t have to be much, but everything helps.”