Why will this project be successful?
Fruit is a symbol of generosity and bounty. Fruit is not attached to a specific class system or religious belief system. Often fruit will trigger a positive childhood memory. Fruit is relatable to all people at every stage of life. Most importantly fruit is considered to be a gift and a signal of hospitality around the world and crosses generational boundaries.
What keeps the fruit trees from being destroyed?
Communities that thrive in cities have communal resources and they are also places that create urban experiences that are unique. Urban Fruit Trails create this kind of space that invites Angelenos to explore the city in a unique way. Signs should be placed marking the trees as being a part of the Endless Orchard and explain that they are part of a system of Public Fruit Trees and that they are for sharing with others.
What if one person picks all the fruit?
Fallen Fruit believes that Public Fruit Trees are for sharing and language will be installed at the trail sites. However, if a person is greedy and over-picks a tree, the good news is that there will be more fruit next year. It is more important to understand that the trees want to be picked and that these fruit trees are a symbol of generosity and good-will on the part of the City of Los Angeles. Fallen Fruit does not believe in “policing” or administrating the use of public fruit or any particular public resource. Over time the trees will be well-picked and become a part of this community and will be used by the residents and passersby without hesitation. This can be validated by the use of the Endless Orchard App and website, which provides examples of neighborhoods in other cities in the United States and around the world that are supporting this concept and respectfully sharing fruit trees as a community resource.
Who will clean up after the trees?
The Fruit Trees installed in the Endless Orchard become part of the thousands of trees integrated into the grids of neighborhood street trees. They will require no additional or special maintenance or care other than that which is typically provided by the Department of Public Works/Bureau of Street Services or similar municipal agencies.
Is it okay to use reclaimed water?
Yes! Fallen Fruit suggests planting hardwood fruit trees, such as citrus and stone fruits, that do not take on any possible contaminants that may pre-exist or become introduced into the soil. In addition, deciduous fruit trees naturally shed any possible toxins by losing their leaves in the autumn and this is a natural renewal process for the trees similar to animals that grow and shed body hair.
How will the trees be watered?
Once established (after 3 years typically), most fruit trees require very little care. The fruit trees installed into urban landscapes often have access to existing watering systems. If possible, existing watering systems can easily be adapted using PVC integrated drip irrigation systems. (Note: this requires the assistance and approval of the City and/or County.) The fruit trees should be watered twice a week for the first year during non-rainy seasons and could be scaled back to once per week after the first 12 months. A recommended maintenance schedule and instructions can be provided upon request.
Will the fruit trees leave a mess?
Fruit tree varieties should be carefully selected to be lower maintenance and also have a longer season of ripeness. For example, figs often are not installed into the project because they ripen quickly and they create debris. However, apples are hearty, drought tolerant and can have a long life cycle on the branch.
If the trees grow tall and the lower fruit gets picked, will this invite people to climb to reach the higher fruit? Will this place people at risk?
The term is often referred to as “attractive nuisance” and is essentially an unfounded myth in regard to fruit trees in public space. There are thousands of fruit trees that exist in public space and on the margins of public space throughout the cities in the United States and around the world. The Public Fruit Maps created by Fallen Fruit beginning in 2004 illustrate hundreds of examples of these locations. From our research, there has never been a case where a fruit tree was the cause of injury to the public in any regard. Regarding the height of the fruit trees, Fallen Fruit will plant dwarf and semi-dwarf fruit trees to provide easy access for the public.
What are the benefits of public fruit trees?
Public Fruit Trees are money savers and money earners. The US Department of Agriculture (USDA) and the US Forest Service (USFS) report that public trees not only save money by their impact on the environment and public health, they can also increase consumer spending in retail areas by 12%, and increase property values by up to 10%.
• Trees earn $5.60 in benefits for every dollar spent on them (Million Trees NYC)
• A small urban tree earns $9–$14 per annum, increasing to $78 p.a. for a large tree (USDA)
• Over 40 years, 150 fruit trees will accrue a $108,000 return for the city (USFS)
Public fruit trees benefit the environment. U.S. Forest Service calculations suggest that every year 150 mature fruit trees will:
• Catch 306,000 gallons of rainwater in their spongy root systems
• Remove 39 tons of CO2 from the atmosphere
• Remove 457 lbs of pollutants from the air
Public fruit trees reduce crime. “A 10% increase in tree canopy was associated with a roughly 12% decrease in crime.” (University of Vermont, 2012). “The greener a building’s surroundings were, the fewer crimes reported.” (University of Illinois, 2001) Trees reduce crime either by drawing more people to public spaces (Jane Jacobs’ “eyes on the street” theory); signaling that people care about their neighborhood (James Q. Wilson’s “broken windows” theory); or fostering community cohesion and a greater sense of security (the Illinois study indicates that neighborhoods with significant greenery report a greater sense of community and a related reduction in crime).
How much greater are the benefits of fruit trees that are planted, tended, and harvested in community? As Pam Wadhurst, co-founder of a UK-based organization that grows food in public space, explains: “The police have told us that, year on year, there has been a reduction in vandalism since we started.”
Public fruit trees increase public health and food security by yielding both regular contact with nature, and delicious fresh supplemental nutrition for the entire neighborhood. Many studies, most recently from the University of Edinburgh, suggest that contact with nature beneficially impacts blood pressure, heart rate, mood, day-to-day effectiveness, social behavior, cognitive functioning, and work performance. “Regular contact with nature may be as important to our psychological and social health as the regular consumption of fruit and vegetables is to our physical health.”
Public fruit trees “ease the burdens of poverty” in inner city neighborhoods. According to Dr. Frances Kuo and her University of Illinois research team, the presence of trees and greenery in inner city neighborhoods helps low-income residents manage significant problems more effectively and feel more hopeful about the future. The study concludes that: “resident-based greening efforts could play a surprisingly valuable role in the arsenal of weapons against poverty.”
US Forest Service Center for Urban Forest Research, Trees In Our City:
United States Department of Agriculture (2007), Interior West Community Tree Guide: www.itreetools.org/streets/resources/Streets_CTG/PSW_GTR205_Interior_West_CTG.pdf
Dr. Frances Kuo (University of Illinois, 2001), “Coping with poverty: Impacts of environment and attention in the inner city.” Environment & Behavior, 33(1), 5-‐34.
Dr Jane Tarran (2006), Trees, Urban Ecology and Community Health, 2006: www.treenet.org/wp-‐content/uploads/06TS-‐TREES-‐URBAN-‐ECOLOGY-‐AND-‐COMMUNITY-‐ HEALTH_Dr-‐Jane-‐Tarran.pdf
Austin Troy, J. Morgan Grove Jarlath O’Neil-‐Dunne (University of Vermont, 2012), The relationship between tree canopy and crime rates across an urban–rural gradient in the greater Baltimore region: http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0169204612000977
Vincent Graff, Daily Mail, “Carrots in the car park, Radishes on the roundabout. The deliciously eccentric story of the town growing ALL its own veg”:
Million Trees NYC, Urban Forest Benefits: http://www.milliontreesnyc.org/html/urban_forest/urban_forest_benefits.shtml
Gretchen Reynolds, The New York Times, “More research on the calming effect of being among the trees”:
http://actrees.org/news/trees-‐in-‐the-‐news/research/more-‐research-‐on-‐the-‐calming-‐effect-‐of-‐ being-‐among-‐the-‐ trees/?utm_source=Alliance+for+Community+Trees+Contacts+List&utm_campaign=75afd2e62 6-‐Treebune_News_13_Apr_1&utm_medium=email