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Feral Fruit Trees: Melbourne

Posted in Models by Kate Archdeacon on March 23rd, 2010

Feral fruit trees are fruit trees growing in or overhanging public spaces that are accessible to the urban hunter-gatherer. The Feral Fruit Trees Melbourne website seeks to promote localized [sic] food gathering in cities where food is being obtained from increasingly distant sources. The current system of food delivery into urban centers poses unnecessary strain upon both the economy and the environment due to transportation costs. Feral fruit tree harvesting transforms our current food distribution system into a more sustainable alternative and promotes a consciousness of the ecology within our urban environments. Urban hunter-gatherers can also enjoy the benefit of fresh fruit that is often organic and not to mention free.

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 Greek guy angry by taking fruit when he doesn’t want you to.

Furthermore a few easy guidelines should be followed in order to ensure the sustainability and fair distribution of this precious public resource.

1. Do not be greedy. Take only as much fruit as you need as there may be other fruit pickers in the area who wish to eat the fruit as well.

2. Try not to damage the tree or the area around the tree. It would be wise to use a proper cutting tool to ensure clean cuts that do less damage to the tree. Try not to rip any leaves, branches or trample any plants below. I was told one story about a Mulberry tree that everyone used to plunder, the owner got so sick of people trampling his other plants from eating the berries that he unfortunately ended up cutting down the tree.

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