Best Way to Reap What Others Sow 

Wednesday, Oct 4 2006

Best Way to Reap What Others Sow

According to theFallen Fruit maps, Silver Lake could rival the produce section of any Whole Foods. There are loquats on Hyperion, peaches on Lucile, avocados on Edgecliffe, figs on Maltman, olives and persimmons scattered here and there, and more. The northern end of Echo Park contains a mother lode of walnut trees. Santa Fe could put Trader Joe’s out of business. Exactly where these treasures can be found are plotted out on online maps, thanks to the Fallen Fruit collective.

What began as a project by a bunch of local artists — Dave Burns, Matias Viegener and Austin Young— to map out what they called “public fruit” (or produce that hung over property lines into public spaces) for The Journal of Aesthetics and Protest in Los Angeles has become a raison d’être. Their manifesto talks of a town where the streets are lined with pears, where parking lots are shaded by fruit-bearing trees. Somewhere a free avocado is dying, while elsewhere in the city someone is buying one from Ralphs for $3. Somewhere golden currants are drying up in the sun, ripening nectarines are on the precipice of falling to a sidewalk-splattered fate. Won’t you go and collect them?

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And better yet, map the fruit in your own neighborhood and share it with others. Fallen Fruit’s Web site not only allows you to post a map of the perishables in your hood, but also gives you tips on how to do it. They encourage everybody to plant fruit- and nut-bearing trees on the edge of their property so the produce can be shared. Fallen Fruit also has a bunch of plans in the works awaiting the green light — including a public fruit park in Griffith Park, and an endless orchard, done with oranges and mirrors in an abandoned lot between Music Center and City Hall (the oranges will be up for grabs at harvest time). They also offer Nighttime Fruit Forages, a tour of local spots under the cover of darkness, and a Public Fruit Jam, where residents bring their own fruit and jars and learn the art of making jam. Fallen Fruit has only a few rules: “Take only what you need, say ‘hi’ to strangers, share, take a friend and go by foot.” Harvest the local bounty; save an apple today.


Reach the writer at limmediato@laweekly.com

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