Well, there’s no particular reason all that fruit should fall and rot on the footpath…

(Fruit) Tree-hugging hippies are working on a map of fruit trees around the city in public spaces that produce food that is, by virtue of overhanging public spaces, public property.*

They argue:

Fruit lying outside the boundary of private property for instance on a branch hanging over a fence is considered to be public property and therefore anyone can legally take the fruit. Please don’t take any fruit that is over someone’s fence even if it is in close reach as this is technically stealing. It always pays to just ask the owner, usually they won’t mind no one is really going to eat a whole tree of figs or loquats. Some people may be sensitive about having the fruit from their tree taken even if it is hanging into public space; therefore even though you are within your rights to take the fruit, common courtesy should be employed. eg. Please don’t make some old… guy angry by taking fruit when he doesn’t want you to.

The google map is here, and, if your area isn’t particularly well annotated at this time, it seems like it would be quite fun to go fruit-tree hunting and see what you can find to add to it.

*I haven’t looked into this in detail, but that doesn’t seem an unreasonable interpretation.

(Via Keri.)


12 responses to “Well, there’s no particular reason all that fruit should fall and rot on the footpath…

  1. Hey, LGWS gets his fricking thank yous. Where’s mine?

  2. Fine. I’d like to thank my beloved Keri for suggesting this post. Updated.

  3. Good. Better. In time I may forgive your oversight.

  4. hmmm … do you think that there is any chance that said hippies might live in Brunswick? Who would have thought?

  5. The hippies live near Montsalvat. It’s latte-sippers in Brunswick.

    Sheesh. Get it right, Gringo!

  6. This is unacceptable — where am I going to get my fruit from if everybody else knows where all these trees are….I’m going to have this map placed on Mr. Conroy’s filter.

  7. This is a great idea, but what i’d really like to see is local councils planting fruit and nut trees in public parks, schools and on road verges.

    Councils waste huge amounts water and space irrigating useless ornamental trees and pointless lawns all over this country, and as far as im concerned an actual pear or cherry tree is just as attractive as the sterile, ornamental ones currently infesting our public spaces, with the added advantage of providing a valuable product.

  8. Hey Duncan, throughout australia, in just about every suburb there are species of lemon ti tree.

    Usually reasonably local species.

    If you break off an armful of leaves and boil them up in a big pot and then strain the plant matter out and pour the water into a bath, well it might not cure the flu or a cold but it certainly makes them easier to cope with, and it makes you place smell great.

    Try to use the leaves from trees that aren’t too exposed to airborne pollutants, but you can rinse them in cold water too to wash the crap off.

    A guy called Anthony Gordon, an blackfella from Baryugil in NSW told me that. Specifically about some species in the Northern NSW region, but there are different trees with similar properties all over the east coast (dunno about the west.)

    As far as I’m concerned thats actually his IP, (wrt to the trees in this part of the world.) But he’s happy to share with anyone who acknowledges his people have been doing it for years and who doesn’t get rich off it.


    He helps put on the camps at that website.

    Its not just public fruit.

    But public fruit trees are a great idea. There are a few public access mango trees in Lismore (NSW) near the base hospital if anyone ever needs to know.

    They are on public land. I have no problem with people accesssing fruit on public land, and overhanging fruit on fence lines.

    Then again, if someone actually jumps the fence and strips the tree, every year, while none of it hangs over the fence.

    Thats not exactly cool.

  9. Also, why wait for councils to plant useful trees. here’s a couple of links you might find interesting.

    This one’s fairly full on.


    This is wikipedia on guerrilla gardening, which is more than a channel 10 show.


    Of course there are also other meanings for guerrilla gardening in other parts of the world.

    Its public space, why shouldn’t the public use it to grow food.

    “In 1649 to St Georges Hill
    A ragged band they called the diggers came
    To show the people’s will…”

  10. jules: that’s the 2nd time today I’ve come across the term ‘guerilla gardening’ – the first time is here.

    You really do learn new stuff every day! 😀

  11. Thanks for the links Jules. Interesting stuff, particularly the Brainsturbater one.

    Until recently we lived on a small farm in Mt Gambier SA, and used to raid the local bakery bins for our pigs, and pick roadside apples (to make cider) and also for the pigs.

    We’ve just sold our place in SA and moved over the border to the western districts and don’t have the space for livestock at the moment, but it felt good to know my pigs were getting fed on what most people would think of as rubbish.

    From looking at the links you provided, its obvious that urban environments can supplement rural food production.

    So many people dont eat enough fresh fruit and vegis, and this must cause health problems that cost us all money as tax payers and clog up the hospitals with diet and lifestyle related diseases.

    Encouraging roadside orchards and edible parklands could save us a lot of money as a society, and improve quality of life for many urban dwellers.

  12. confessions, its synchronicity. It means the universe is saying “take notice of this”.

    Duncan, Justin Boland set that site up (Brainsturbator) – most of his ideas are pretty out there, which is why I like them alot of the time. He also makes music under the name DJ Multiple Sex Partners. He’s an interesting guy. I love the thought of engineering bacteria to eat asphalt. Tho more seriously, engineering it to eat radioactive waste might be a really useful thing.

    I live in the Northern Rivers region of NSW, and even before the Europeans got here the place was a supermarket. Now, especially since people like Paul Recher brought in so many exotic species of fruit tree, and the whole permaculture thing, the place is unreal. You can find so much food here if you look, or you can grow it yourself.

    And its not just your own, weedy or bush food. There’s medicine too, tho like any of that stuff, its worth understanding the principles of modern medicine as well as how to make herbal poultices and other home medicines, before you start messing around with Cunjovoi or something.

    The lemon ti tree that Anto told me about is fairly benign tho.

    So there is already food here, in the native flora of australia. And medicine, or “health tonics” that make you feel better anyway. Probably growing in your local council parks if you know what to look for. Tho you’d have to get local knowledge, imo.

    Of course supplementing it with guerrilla gardening is a great idea, as i the sort of thing you mentioned Duncan, foraging in urban and non urban areas.

    (Using bread that the bakery throws out is a great idea btw, I hate wasting food, unless the wasted food gets composted and fed to soil that grows more food, even then tho, its a waste.)

    My parents have always had a huge garden, and chooks in their suburban home. Sometimes they are completely self sufficient in vegies for a while, and they grow an enormous amount of fruit. They live on a small block in the middle of Sunbury these days, so they have slightly less than a quarter acre, yet the garden still pumps it out.

    And throughout the north western suburbs of melbourne Italian families particularly use wasteland, usually the back of their properties along railway land or unused industrial land to grow food. Its a great tradition they have introduced imo.

    Tho the only issue is knowing the history of the site, and what (if any) dodgy chemicals have leeched into the soil or are blown over it regularly.

    But as far as turning urban land into more productive land as far as food goes just adding fruit trees to parks would be a good start.

    Something worth lobbying councils to do maybe?

    “Encouraging roadside orchards and edible parklands could save us a lot of money as a society, and improve quality of life for many urban dwellers.”

    It certainly would. Ultimately anything is more productive than monoculture, and community gardening can be far more productive than it.

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