Image from Fallen Fruit.

The Urban Fruit Trail:

Students aged 10 to 12 years old spent an afternoon digging under the Los Angeles sun, planting fruit trees at Lafayette Park as part of a public project to create a trail of fruit trees all the way to MacArthur Park area.

According to an article by the L.A. Times, a total of 150 trees will be planted giving the area a lot of canopy shade and free snacks in the future. Trees like plums, peaches, pomegranates, persimmons, lemons, limes, oranges and kumquats will be planted.

The project is called L.A.’s First Urban Fruit Trail supported by the Heart of Los Angeles (HOLA) and Fallen Fruit. Fallen Fruit is an art collaboration, which was started in 2004. It began by mapping fruit trees growing on or over public property in Los Angeles. “The collaboration has expanded to include serialised public projects and site-specific installations and happenings in various cities around the world.”

The project receives a grant from the Robert Rauschenberg Foundation. Students who joined the summer program looked for spots to plant the trees. The areas chosen were Lafayette Park, MacArthur Park and other sites like outside churches, schools and apartment buildings.

The target is to plant 70 trees this month. The rest of the trees will be given to residents to plant in public areas.

“To promote the trail, students have gathered each week to work on a series of art projects – collages, paintings, photographs and oral histories,” the report said.

The art works will be placed online to become an interactive map for people who want to take a walking tour of the fruit tree trail. In May this year, L.A. started the fruit trail with 27 trees. The whole concept combines public art, youth education and urban agriculture, according to Kelly McCartney’s article on Shareable.

“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 instalments that take the neighbourhood’s natural, social and cultural resources into account. And it all goes into a geo-tagged mobile app,” McCartney’s article said.

This trail is only a part of Fallen Fruit’s global plan called the Endless Orchard project. It is a “non-contiguous map of fruit trees in public space”.

“All the public fruit trees in the Endless Orchard will be marked online in a mapping system similar to Google Maps. This open-source data will integrate with already existing databases into the largest single source map of public fruit trees in the world. The map will also integrate social media using the fruit trees as markers for public participation,” their website said.

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