Feral Fruit Trees are fruit trees growing in or overhanging public spaces that are accessible to the urban hunter-gatherer. This website seeks to promote localized 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.

With this in mind I bid you good luck on your fruit foraging adventures around the city.

Find feral fruit trees in your suburb

Picking Fruit by M Lyn.

8 responses

26 03 2010
Well, there’s no particular reason that all that fruit should fall and rot on the footpath… « An Onymous Lefty

[…] argue: Fruit lying outside the boundary of private property for instance on a branch hanging over a fence […]

17 01 2011

What a great idea for a website. I was once a gardener for Richmond City Council and made several requests to plant out a vacant area along the Boulevard near the High school with a public orchard. If it was approved they’d be a great public resource now. Oh well.

16 04 2011
urban hunter gatherers: the mapping of public fruit trees | kis: keep it simple

[…] Feral Fruit Trees Melbourne: Feral fruit trees are fruit trees growing in or overhanging public spaces that are accessible to the urban hunter-gatherer. This site offer interactive mapping and advice on the etiquette of urban fruit collection. […]

18 01 2012
bench fleecejacken

Like a bolt from the blue. fleecejacke von bench weiss kinderjacke bench

26 02 2012

I live in Lorne where I have fruit trees out the back. Locals come and pick the fruit because they know the trees are there and indeed have the equivalent of these ‘fruit maps’ purely through local knowledge of where the trees are. I am absolutely fine with the picking of these organic fruits, otherwise very wasted. It’s the Melbourne and Geelong blow-ins who own the majority of (predominantly empty) houses here who come once every 3 months and strip the entire trees of every morsel and leave nothing for anyone else, or the birdlife, that annoy the hell out of me.

8 03 2012

Have you found the massive pear tree on moray street south Melbourne?
From 72 Tope street, walk towards the city and it’s past the round about on moray.
Jo x

1 05 2012
Overhanging fruit, a tumblr « Flat 7

[…] time has passed I’ve kept my eyes and mouth on projects such as Fallen Fruit and Feral Fruit Melbourne. They came together today with my RSI-ridden hands to start a tumblr, overhanging fruit. Its […]

22 12 2012
Paul Pot

I think a fruit map is a fantastic idea.
I long ago thought of the idea of a tree map that showed where good fruit and useful trees could be found.
The internet provided the means to do it and some one resourceful did it, thank you.
My point of interest is protecting the gene pool and being able to identify and source high quality DNA.
Good seeds in other words.
There are some really high quality fruit out there and they really need to be looked after.
That is seed collected and dispersed amongst caring folk, gardeners.
With a tree map we could select the best fruit trees to start our gardens with.
Intimate knowledge and discerning selection can lead to everyone having access to very high quality fruit.
In north Queensland I used buy from our local market super mangoes and avocados so good it’s hard to describe.
Now that region is heavily commercialized and it’s impossible to find those rare backyard ultra fruits.
I hope that this idea spreads around the world.

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