Fruit is abundant if you know where to look. Falling Fruit, a massive collaborative mapping project, provides foragers with the tools they need to track down a nutritious snack. Beyond satisfying the hunger pangs of the present, the initiative provides individuals and communities with a resource through which they can build resilience in the long term. Through the contributions of people all over the world, Falling Fruit is steadily building a map that will guide the hungry towards free food that may otherwise have gone to waste.
Falling Fruit was launched in Colorado in 2013 as an open project to which anyone could contribute or access food location information. While Falling Fruit was not the first foraging map online, its creators aspire for it to be the most comprehensive. At latest count, the Falling Fruit map includes 1,335 different types of “edibles,” which mostly consists of plants but also includes mushroom patches and ideal dumpsters for diving, across 791,692 locations.
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Though these hot spots are uploaded by contributors around the world, Falling Fruit administrators incorporated pre-existing maps and data sets from a variety of sources – from neighborhood foraging maps to professional tree inventories. The resource allows the hard ground work completed by local groups, such as the League of Urban Canners which recently compiled an edible tree map for Cambridge, Massachusetts, to be consolidated and shared for a wider audience.
Before taking a foraging adventure in your neighborhood, it is important to internalize a few health and safety guidelines. Although lead does not significantly concentrate in fruit from trees grown in leaded soil, it is important to learn more about the site’s conditions to avoid pollutants. Also, be mindful of whether the tree is on public or private land, regardless of where its fruit falls. With the help of Falling Fruit’s map, you will have the information that you need to determine the best foraging spot near you.
Via the Plaid Zebra
Images via Falling Fruit and Wikimedia