Last week after writing about food foraging and the Ice Plant recipe I decided to take this a step further. I googled and found a group,
Senior Gleaners, are all volunteers of 55 years of age and over. They volunteer their time and labor in gleaning surplus food from gardens, fields, groves and regional supermarkets to supplement the hungry and poor.
I had a great conversation with Donna, the volunteer in charge. We spoke in terms of what could happen in my area. Disappointingly, there is nothing organized along my stretch of the coast. I would have to drive pretty far inland to the fields and she also suspected I’d not be able to handle the physical. I guess the fields are up a hill.
She also organizes grocery store runs. Now I have some experience with the grocery store donations because I worked at a local Vons for a few months a few years ago. It was a stomach-turning miserable experience to see the mountains of waste and the utter disrespect shown food. There was no communication between the bakery department head and the donation pick up volunteers. Carts and carts of food was stuffed into compost boxes (or big trash bags if nobody was paying attention) every single day. We baked way in excess of demand so that bakery cases looked overflowing. *shudder* And I witnessed only one department.
The idea of spending volunteer time, fuel to pick up white bread, chemical laden cakes and donuts for people in need of meals just doesn’t appeal to me. For me it is like so many do-good enterprises that seem more about white, middle class people needing a bunch of busy activities to assure themselves they are generous. So, I left it there for now. The volunteer was dismissive anyway. She was distracted with her month long vacation starting the next day. But, a seed was planted.
I spoke briefly Sunday about preparing a map to the woman running for City Council as I was showing her the Ice Plant fruits. She is a member of Sierra Club and is a sustainability advocate. I let her know that I had my application in for the Environmental Committee and she agreed this would be something great for that group to tackle. Another seed was planted.
Today I was writing another post and searching for a citation buried somewhere within Green as a Thistle blog and found that Vanessa is writing again. In this particular post she used a term I was unfamiliar with, feral fruit. Apparently, she learned of this from Chile. Now I read Chile most every day, so I must have slept through that recent paragraph. I like the sound of feral food. Call it gleaning, foraging, feral food, fallen fruit, mapping food. Today I decided it was time to share some of these great resources and links.
With Vanessa’s post I got several more links besides Chile's. Funny how one can think he or she is alone in a thought. Nothing is individual – all is shared. Chile and Vanessa and others will approach this same theme with their own insight and expertise. I don't think any of us in this nascent world of sustainable living thinks we have it all figured out or are prepared to eliminate information.
We're all in this together — by ourselves. —Lily Tomlin
- How to make a feral fruit map, at a site filled with much more.
- Treehugger post on urban gleaning.
- Village Harvest lists
- Transition Towne Edible Edges tour and review of Totnes
- Treehugger on planting nut trees in Transition Towns
"Public Fruit" is the concept behind the Fallen Fruit, an activist art project which started as a mapping of all the public fruit in our neighborhood. We ask all of you to contribute your maps so they expand to cover the United States and then the world. We encourage everyone to harvest, plant and sample public fruit, which is what we call all fruit on or overhanging public spaces such as sidewalks, streets or parking lots.Wasted Food
We believe fruit is a resource that should be commonly shared, like shells from the beach or mushrooms from the forest. Fallen Fruit has moved from mapping to planning fruit parks in under-utilized areas. Our goal is to get people thinking about the life and vitality of our neighborhoods and to consider how we can change the dynamic of our cities and common values.
-Fallen Fruit is David Burns, Matias Viegener, and Austin Young