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Urban shade and free fruit projects

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posted on Apr, 22 2013 @ 03:31 PM
So I was grazing on the green borders of the information super highway and came across the following story:

Urban Gardeners in Buenos Aires Seek Solutions to Hunger and Poverty on Earth Day

A lady in Buenos Ares is making a map on her Facebook page page of all the fruit trees in the city that are planted on public land. Her intention is for the poor and homeless to know where to look for free food.

BUENOS AIRES, ARGENTINA Every time Ludmila Nahir Medina, 23, leaves her house, she carries a pencil and paper to tally the fruit trees on the streets of Buenos Aires, Argentinas capital. So far, she has recorded 1,500 trees from which people can eat for free.

The story is interesting and just a little inspiring, and it got me to thinking. Most cities and counties in the US and municipalities around the world spend a large sum of our money planting and caring for shade trees and "beautification projects". Why not plant shade trees that could provide food as well? Seems a no-brainer to me, and there are a few examples of cities already doing this.

Surrey, BC

Lawrence, Kansas

And I am sure many others. Some areas would be more challenging than others to find suitable species of trees, bushes and hedges of course, but SOMETHING will grow nearly everywhere. With spring in the air, I intend to attend the next few city and county council meetings and encourage my elected representatives to adopt a "Green Food" policy.

Here are some other examples of people mapping the fruit trees in our cities:

Vancouver, BC

New Orleans, LA

Seattle, WA

There are organizations that exist to provide resoucres to people and municipalities who may be interested in the concept:

Fruit Tree Planting Foundation

Our programs are at the forefront of a global movement towards sustainability by strategically donating orchards where the harvest will best serve communities for generations, at places such as public schools, city parks, low-income neighborhoods, Native American reservations, international hunger relief sites, and animal sanctuaries


Trees for Cities

Inspiring people to plant and love trees in cities worldwide. We work with communities to plant trees in parts of cities that need it most. We grow stronger neighbourhoods, enhance urban landscapes and improve health and happiness

are examples. And if worst comes to worst, some folks have even taken the bull by the horns and resorted to civil disobedience.
Gorilla Grafters

Her campaign with city agencies hadn’t drawn any takers, "so finally out of frustration I thought why not just do it, and do it responsibly, and that could be a case to convince them,” she says. About a year ago, the Guerrilla Grafters were born as a horizontally organized band of fellow agro-activists who wanted to help sew an urban orchard.

And finally, for anyone interested here is an example of a source of supply and information I pulled up in a quick search.

Edible Cities A UK site that seems to have loads of info on everything from edible hedges to micro forest gardens and community orchards. Lots of information on local species and practices.

Anyway, this seems to be an idea every place in the world could adopt that is relatively revenue-neutral (to use the current buzz word) since the money is already being spent. We might as well get something more than clogged gutters and downed power lines out of the whole city beautification deal. Feel free to add any sources of supply or information you might know of!

Anyone got a green thumb?

posted on Apr, 22 2013 @ 11:49 PM
One problem.....fruit tree care.

I lived by an orchard for 15 years. Those trees need pruning, pollinating, sprayed twice a year, and other various meticulous care.

Yes nature will produce the fruit, but if you want the fruit to be "good", it takes lots of care.

Otherwise, I'm all for it. I would love to see towns use their free space to grow edible gardens.

posted on Apr, 23 2013 @ 02:58 AM
Well.... I have a concern that homeless aren't going to have the resources to utilize her map(s). That then turns into loafers that go and exploit the trees without giving back in any way.

I imagine without such there's trees going under utilized. But an influx in pickers 'unnaturally' like this might exhaust them.

Now plant more trees is a no brainer, except the reality that from-seed trees aren't going to produce for a long time (if ever), and proper grafted specimens are costly and a labor intensive.

I think a better route for low income families would be community gardens. People ought to get their fingernails dirty anyhow. They know where it is. Develop some skills. Keeps some seeds. Network which can lead to group purchasing, If fruit trees are in peoples range of access I'd expect them to have some clue assuming they have the initiative to utilize them.

Of course I'm not from there so can't speak about the abundance they might have.

I know here In Tampa we have many trees worth note, but one problem is that trees tend to get real tall and require special picker tools to access the fruit. I know here they cost about $50 out the door. I have a nice orange picker with telescopic handle but many grapefruit and loquat trees are so tall even it hardly does any good.

I am all for these concepts in general however. Billions in aid to banks.... they could have been carpet bombing the US with seeds from endlessly exotic arrays of edible end product plants for much less.
edit on 23-4-2013 by IgnoranceIsntBlisss because: (no reason given)

posted on Apr, 23 2013 @ 11:49 AM
While the lady in the OP was concerned with the homeless, my thought was more towards EVERYONE's use. We are already paying a large fee every year in beautification. That money could be spent on fruit and nut trees instead of elms and oaks. I know my county already sprays twice a year for bugs in the shade trees and other weeds and vermin. They would just have to buy a different spray, i'm thinking.

As far as the equipment for harvest, have you seen how much they already spend on grounds keeping equipment? Fifty bucks is nothing! It could be obtained in many ways including grants and gifts. There are foundations already in place that do exactly that. I think I linked to one in the OP.

The populace could be encouraged to participate in the care and feeding of the trees, as well as service groups, Scouts, and business in the same manner as the Adopt A Highway program works. Possibly there could be a way to use volunteers from local jails and prisons, or a way to work off community service sentences. There are always 'reasons' not to do things but I think this might be something that could benefit us all.

posted on Apr, 23 2013 @ 11:54 AM
Yeah, this needs to happen everywhere possible. There was a pilot sceme last year or so, in a town in the UK, where fruit and veg were grown in all sorts of places, and crime went down and everyone rode around on unicorns made from rainbows. well, ok, not quite, but a happier place it became.

Get your fruit seeds, and plant them somewhere. I've been sticking strawberries in round these parts for a while now, stuck some apple seeds in about 3 weeks ago. just go round whomping seeds into the ground. You know it makes sense. We shouldn't need to pay for the things we actually need to live, like food and water. So get on it!!

posted on Apr, 23 2013 @ 12:00 PM
reply to post by Acidtastic

Heh, did you read the story about the Gorilla Grafters? Just run around throwing grafts in on suitable trees. Couple years later, the city workers are wondering where these apple and plum trees came from!

Good work!

And lets not forget using berry bushes in place of hedges and property borders.

posted on Apr, 23 2013 @ 12:24 PM

Originally posted by Montana
Heh, did you read the story about the Gorilla Grafters? Just run around throwing grafts in on suitable trees. Couple years later, the city workers are wondering where these apple and plum trees came from!

I wondered slightly what that was but didnt get to clicking thru. Being a guerrilla farmer (seed / germplasm production via local vacant lots), and having 15 different citrus cultivars that will one day make sweet 'cocktail trees', I never even thought of that one.

posted on Apr, 26 2013 @ 10:28 AM
i actually tried to do this exact same thing a while ago, planting fruit trees for everyone to use, especially homeless. the city shut me down of corse, too much money/upkeep/regulations they said. all BS to me. excuses. if they really cared they would let me do the work and plant/buy the trees. i think im just going to do it anyway, just not as much.

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