Where does Fruit come from?

Two guys, two motorbikes and a mission to promote fresh produce consumption – 6 out of 10 UK kids don’t know where their fruit comes from.

Dbn harbour visit on 20/01/16: L-R: Faisal Asmal (Citrus Growers Association), Phillip Jubileous (Fresh Produce Terminals), Max MacGillvray (Great Fruit Adventure), Justin Chadwick (Citrus Growers Association), Dean Ganeson (Fresh Produce Terminals)

Apples, grapes, oranges, pears, tomatoes and mange tout. Chances are that, as a South African, you’re quite familiar with the journey that these have meandered to make their way onto your plate.

Well, Max MacGillivray discovered – to his dismay – that 6 out of 10 UK children didn’t know where their fruit and vegetables come from. This was all the impetus he needed to initiate The Great Fruit Adventure, which started on 8 November 2016 when he and Gareth Jones set off from New Spitalfields Market in London, and reached southern Africa on 11 January 2017. Their mission: to create awareness (especially amongst kids) about the benefits of fresh produce consumption.

Fruit South Africa (FruitSA) has joined forces with The Great Fruit Adventure, which has taken the duo on a 3-month trip across Europe and currently Africa.

During the current southern African leg of their trip they’ve visited various fruit and vegetable growers in Zimbabwe; the Thipise region; Modjadjiskloof in the Limpopo province; Tzaneen, Letsitele, and Hoedspruit (where they visited schools, farms and packhouses); Nelspruit, Hazyview, and White River; Swaziland; Bethlehem and Harrismith on the 19th; Durban on the 20th; Sundays River in the Eastern Cape from the 21st-23rd; Misgund & Langkloof from the 23rd-24th; and then onto Grabouw, Robertson, De Doorns, Ceres and Paarl in the Western Cape from the 25th until the beginning of February, when they will attend a welcome ceremony in Cape Town hosted by FruitSA on 1 February.

FruitSA is a non-profit organisation formed by the Citrus Growers’ Association of Southern Africa (CGA), HORTGRO (representing pome and stone fruit), the South African Table Grape Industry (SATI), SUBTROP (representing the avocado, litchi, mango and macadamia industries), and the Fresh Produce Exporters’ Forum (FPEF), to address common issues relevant to the fruit industry in South Africa.

“FruitSA wishes Max and Gareth all the best with the Great Fruit Adventure. We are thrilled to have you here in South Africa. And we look forward to share the story of our producers in the fresh fruit industry through this epic adventure, with many of our end consumers in the United Kingdom and further afield,” said Dr. Konanani Liphadzi, CEO of FruitSA.

MacGillivray aims to help educate children in the UK, as well as internationally, to tackle the ongoing ignorance around fresh produce, and to teach them that fruit doesn’t only grow on trees.

“Fresh Produce is my lifelong passion and I’ve put my heart and soul into the industry, so I was dismayed to read that 6 out of 10 British children had no idea where the fruit and veg they eat comes from. Something had to be done,” says Max.

The Great Fruit Adventure is a non-profit campaign, the proceeds of which (after the cost of the trip) will go to a select number of Africa facing nominated charities, viz: Fairtrade (www.fairtrade.org.uk), Marshall Papworth (www.marshalpapworth.com), and TUSK (www.tusk.org).

When they return home, the duo will visit schools and colleges and attend events across the UK, to share growers’ stories, as well as anecdotes from their journey. This will include the journey that fruit and vegetables navigate daily to find their way from Africa, to the rest of the world.

According to the Heart Foundation 1 in 4 girls and 1 in 5 boys between the ages of 2–14 years are overweight or obese. The magnitude of the problem has even prompted the Department of Health to include the obesity crisis in the national non-communicable diseases strategic goals for 2020.

Our kids need to learn to value and enjoy fresh fruit and vegetables, and eat less fast food. It’s no longer merely a good idea – it’s a health issue.