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Seattle’s City Fruit Maps Fruit Trees
Shared by reBlog @ Eyebeam
I'm interested right now in exploring the maximums and minimums of urban potential. I don't just want to look at organized activities (e.g. urban gardening with CSAs), but also at taking advantage of already naturally occurring phenomena. In most cities, fruit trees are planted because they produce beautiful flowers in the spring, fulfilling a completely reasonable desire for urban beautification, in addition to the sustainable side effect of cleaner air. The fruit is a mostly lost byproduct of the flowers -- so much so that in New York, we plant Callery pear trees that have been bred not to fruit, and no one except the very young expects to see cherries on cherry trees.
In Seattle, the opposite is being -- to use their word -- "optimized": fruit from city trees is collected and used to feed urban dwellers. Fruit producing trees are a mappable resource. This reminds me of the more grassroots (forgive the pun) LA-based group Fallen Fruit (fallenfruit.org).
What would this look like in a city with lots of land for trees, like Detroit? There is no lack of space, and relatively few people to feed per square mile (given standard urban population expectations). Some combination of organizing the planting of fruit trees and taking advantage of existing land and the fruit on those trees could produce one of the most widespread, effective urban fruit harvests imaginable: a city with a maximized fruit-to-housing ratio.
City-grown fruit is a community resource for the city of Seattle. Since most residential tree owners can’t—or don’t—use all the fruit grown on their properties, much of it falls to the ground and rots. In addition, much of the fruit grown in urban landscapes is infested with preventable pests.
City Fruit works neighborhood by neighborhood to help residential tree owners grow healthy fruit, to harvest and use what they can, and to share what they don’t need. City Fruit collaborates with others involved in local food production, climate protection, horticulture, food security and community-building to protect and optimize urban fruit trees.
City Fruit is a non-profit corporation with a tax exempt status (501c). It is supported by donations, memberships, class fees, sales and grants.
In 2010, City Fruit harvested and distributed more than 10,000 pounds of fruit. This year, they hope to do even more by creating an online fruit tree mapping site where Seattle residents can enter on a map the location of fruit trees in their neighborhood.