Falling Fruit – A Global Collaborative for Local Foragers
There is nothing simpler than picking a ripe apple from a tree. Yet with increasing urbanization and the industrialization of our food system, this simple act has become foreign to many in the developed world. Instead, food-bearing trees go untouched, their fruit staining our sidewalks. Falling Fruit celebrates this overlooked culinary bounty. Our goal is to highlight the availability of forageable food sources in urban areas and encourage the use and sharing of these local resources. By quantifying them on an interactive and collaborative map, we hope to facilitate intimate connections between people, food, and the natural organisms growing in our neighborhoods. Our map is not the first of its kind, but it aspires to be the world’s most comprehensive, with currently over 800,000 edible plants and 1,200 unique species. Modern foraging is, of course, a means to a free lunch, but also a delicious excuse to explore our cities, fight the scourge of stained sidewalks, and reconnect with the botanical origins of our food.
Falling Fruit, an established 501(c)(3) non-profit launched in March 2013, is a global map of fruit trees and other sources of free and forageable food. The project was founded by Caleb Phillips and Ethan Welty who came to independently possess local datasets of fruit trees in Boulder, Colorado. With friends, they would harvest locally for their own consumption and quickly realized that the seasonally available fruit greatly exceeded their own needs. By chance, Ethan and Caleb met at a Boulder Food Rescue meeting and they immediately got to work on a platform that would help foragers like themselves accrue and share local knowledge. A year later, they were joined by their friend and forager Jeff Wanner.