An L.A. County public park is now home to a community orchard. (Photo: The Office of Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas)
Before Seattle developed plans for its one-of-a-kind food forest, before Guerilla Grafters took their pruning knives to the flowering trees on the sidewalks of San Francisco, there was Fallen Fruit.
The Los Angeles-based artist collective has been exploring the interrelationship of public space, urban planning and food through various fruit-related performances, installations and actions since 2004. And now, members David Burns, Matias Viegener, and Austin Young are bringing California’s first-ever publically funded community orchard to Los Angeles County.
Twenty-seven trees have been planted in Del Aire park, which sits in an unincorporated area of L.A.’s South Bay, each chosen to be “fruitful and abundant” in the particular climate that exists west of Interstate 405 (it’s more than a cultural divider, apparently). Burns tells TakePart that they tended predominately toward “things that you don’t typically buy,” like persimmons and pomegranates.
Lemons, limes, various hybrid stone fruit, and a few different types of figs are also among the trees included in the orchard. The group plans to provide fruit pickers and maps of the trees, but beyond that general guidance, Burns says that as far as Fallen Fruit is concerned, the fate of the orchard is in the community’s hands.