On May 18, Los Angeles took its first step toward having an Urban Fruit Trail. The Fallen Fruit team of Austin Young and David Burns joined forces with Heart of LA (HOLA) for the first installment of an art project that is meant to transform the neighborhoods surrounding downtown Los Angeles into more walkable, edible communities. The goal is to plant 150 fruit trees -- plum, peach, pomegranate, persimmon, lime, lemon, orange, and kumquat -- in MacArthur Park, Lafayette Park, and the historic Bryson Building. They have 27 trees in the ground already.
More than just a bunch of fruit trees, the Urban Fruit Trail project combines public art, youth education, and urban agriculture. During weekly sessions, HOLA students are tasked with researching which varieties of trees should be planted where, planting the trees, and creating site-specific art installments that take the neighborhood's natural, social, and cultural resources into account. And it all goes into a geo-tagged mobile app.
The Urban Fruit Trail is the maiden planting of Fallen Fruit’s global-scale Endless Orchard project -- a non-contiguous map of fruit trees that occupy public spaces meant to blur the lines between the real world and the virtual one. Starting with a crop of orange trees in the Los Angeles State Historic Park that will be memorialized with a Monument to Sharing, the Endless Orchard will be mapped online with open-source data that pulls existing databases into one, large repository of public fruit trees locations.
Just like in Los Angeles, Fallen Fruit will partner with communities and organizations around the world to plant, maintain, and harvest fruit trees in their neighborhoods. As Young noted, “Fruit trails can create an abundant neighborhood and celebrate a community of sharing." For Burns, though, “It’s about transforming our relationship to the city and each other.” The point is for residents to rethink civic engagement, sharing, and community in the urban environment. And what better way to do that than with the fruits of their own participation?
Images courtesy of HOLA.