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Imagine the streets of San Francisco lined with with lemons and limes, apples and oranges, peaches and pears, pluots and plums.

Why plant non-fruit trees when you can plant fruit trees instead? Granted, if the fruit wasn't picked, it could become a hazard (rotten cherries would need to be swept off the sidewalk, falling grapefruits could dent parked cars) but it seems like there are enough hungry people in the city that all the fruit could be put to good use.

I believe this is already done in Portland, Oregon and parts of Spain.

Supporters All

Alan Joseph Williams
Colin Mutchler
Matthew Hall
Ben Blumenfeld
Erik Michaels-Ober
Kevin Lo
Vegan Wheekers
MG Siegler
Justin Street
Brandi Valenza
Jonah Price
Diana Kimball
Mehul Kar
Nils Mattisson


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Chacha Sikes

Chacha has a background in technology, including open source development with large non-profits and engineering solutions for open government. She is also a designer and advocate of urban agriculture and food systems innovations. After observing a lack of understanding among people in cities for the growth method and origin of food, Chacha decided to start prototyping ways to expose on city streets the full growth cycle of fruit trees and the amount of time they take to grow.

She’s developed an idea called Fruit Fences: hanging planters tailored for growing fruit trees in public spaces. Both functional and expressive, the planters’ bright, bold designs draw the attention of bypassers and as Chacha explains, “are a visually approachable way for people to see, and appreciate where our food comes from.”


Chacha Sikes wants to help you grow more public fruit trees.

Idea: 60+ neighbors want more public fruit trees in San Francisco. Action: Chacha Sikes, a designer based in Berkeley, has created an inventive way to

Tod Robbins
Tod Robbins
Jul 9, 2013

Yay Chacha!

Posted by Tod Robbins on Jul 9, 2013
Aug 4, 2013

You are awesome, Chacha! SF needs more people like you!

Posted by Andy on Aug 4, 2013
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"Falling Fruit is a celebration of the overlooked culinary bounty of our city streets. By quantifying this resource on an interactive map, we hope to facilitate intimate connections between people, food, and the natural organisms growing in our neighborhoods. Not just a free lunch! Foraging in the 21st century is an opportunity for urban exploration, to fight the scourge of stained sidewalks, and to reconnect with the botanical origins of food.

Our edible map is not the first of its kind, but it aspires to be the world's most comprehensive. While our users contribute locations of their own, we comb the internet for pre-existing knowledge, seeking to unite the efforts of foragers, foresters, and freegans everywhere. The imported datasets range from small neighborhood foraging maps to vast professionally-compiled tree inventories. This so far amounts to 1,122 different types of edibles (most, but not all, plant species) distributed over 786,201 locations. Beyond the cultivated and commonplace to the exotic flavors of foreign plants and long-forgotten native plants, foraging in your neighborhood is a journey through time and across cultures.

Join us in celebrating hyper-local food! The map is open for anyone to edit, the database can be downloaded with just one click, and the code is open-source. You are likewise encouraged to share the bounty with your fellow humans. Our sharing page lists hundreds of local organizations - planting public orchards and food forests, picking otherwise-wasted fruits and vegetables from city trees and farmers' fields, and sharing with neighbors and the needy."

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Tom K.

I had no idea there was a fruit tree finder app for SF. Apparently this person thinks it didn't work very well.

"But quickly, many of the fruit trees were revealed as vaporware. It wasn't much fun to tromp several blocks only to find nothing. But then, once I'd finally found a real tree, the fruit was too high to be picked. I just hadn't anticipated that I'd need to haul around a ladder. Yet, I suppose if there was a lot of low hanging fruit, then it'd be plucked up already."

Still a really cool idea.


The Fruit Tree App That Left Me Hungry

The country girl inside of me grinned in anticipation of "living off the land," even if it was just the concrete jungle of San Francisco.

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Tom K.

Super interesting counter-point from Mariellé Anzelone, an urban conservation biologist:

"Don’t misunderstand me, I like fruit as much as the next person. It’s not the orchards themselves that irk me — it’s the shortsightedness they represent.

By so narrowly defining useful landscapes, the craze to farmify our surroundings has made it all about humans. There’s nothing wrong with a utilitarian view of nature. The problem is that we are ignoring the utility of plants like wildflowers and native ornamentals in favor of imported fruit trees.

All around us, even in cities, there are natural processes at work that we depend on. Although largely overlooked, these “ecosystem services” are critical to the survival of our species."


Greedy Gardeners

The activists campaigning for urban farms should not forget the wildflowers, bees and butterflies that are critical to our survival.

Casey Lauderdale
Casey Lauderdale
Jun 27, 2013

Interesting article, but I must admit it doesn't spur me to protest fruit trees. I think we can find room for both wildflowers and lemon trees. Everything in moderation, right?

Posted by Casey Lauderdale on Jun 27, 2013
Tom K.
Tom K.
Jun 28, 2013's a bit extreme, but I like she's willing to bring a different perspective.

Posted by Tom K. on Jun 28, 2013
Jul 6, 2013

She needs to lighten up. We're not on the brink of disaster by growing things we can eat in urban areas.

Posted by Tyler on Jul 6, 2013
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Friends of the Urban Forest

Friends of the Urban Forest makes it easy and affordable for San Franciscans to get new trees in front of their properties. Street trees beautify and improve neighborhoods, increase property values, reduce storm-water runoff, and clean the air.

More information here:


Neighborhood Tree Planting

Friends of the Urban Forest makes it easy and affordable for San Franciscans to get new trees in front of their properties. Street trees beautify and improve ne

Aug 4, 2013

Lots of it!

Posted by Andy on Aug 4, 2013
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Tom K.

California's first public orchard is now open in Del Aire Park near LAX. Could this be a model for SF?

"Residents of this quiet, unincorporated slice of Los Angeles County had helped plant 27 fruit trees and eight grapevines in Del Aire Park and 60 additional fruit trees in the surrounding neighborhood. It was part of a larger renovation that included face lifts for a community center, basketball court and baseball field, all nestled in a green space just southwest of the juncture of the 105 and 405 freeways."

Park's makeover includes fruit trees for all to enjoy

Del Aire residents got to enjoy the fruits of their labor Saturday with the unveiling of the state's first public orchard. Residents of this quiet, unincorporated slice of Los Angeles County had...

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Erik Michaels-Ober

Check out this project to Kickstart a community orchard in Santa Cruz:


Pajaro Community Orchard


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Booka Alon

Yes Britta! Rats sometimes attack citrus, but overall I find they are the least attractive to pesky urban vermin and ants. There are east strategies I have found which do work - rat guards (round sleeves which cause the rats to lose traction, sorta like a "squirrel baffle")... and then "neem oil" to protect against ants. Lemons don't drop to the ground as readily as figs and juicier thin-skinned fruits.

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Bugs and birds also love nibbling on thin-skinned fruit though, which can make fruit trees/bushes annoying and unappetizing. In my neighborhood, ants eat most of the public blackberries, and birds eat most of the public figs. Citrus fruits hold up pretty well without pesticides though.

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Ryan James

I can't imagine that rotten fruit would be a problem. Look at the cottage industry that exists solely because of readily-available empty bottles/cans and the redemption value—how easy would it be for a similar industry to emerge selling fresh-picked fruit?

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