When most people think of foraging for food, they probably don’t picture doing so on a busy street in downtown Boulder. Jeff Wanner, an experienced urban forager, says that conception is wrong.
“A lot of Boulder is old apple orchards that have been growing since the first settlers came here. They’re a resource that’s underutilized or not utilized, and apples picked from a tree are a lot better than those from a store,” he explains.
Wanner is on the board or directors for an organization called Falling Fruit. The organization has created an online map of fruit bearing trees and other food sources that are on public land so anyone can find them. Caleb Philips and Ethan Wetly designed Falling Fruit as a way to share their passion for urban foraging.
One of the goals of Falling Fruit is to change peoples’ conception of what modern foraging looks like. This means the map has expanded to include resources other than fruit trees.
Wetly says “We started with food-bearing plants, but we allow a broader range than just that. We wanted to create a platform for dumpster divers and that created a completely different set of users who see a grocery store dumpster as essentially a tree that’s in season year round. Water sources have also become a big thing. People map sources of potable water in cities, which is a very valuable thing if you’re in need.”
He says that one of his goals for all people who interact with the map is that they consider the possibility of growing more food in cities.
He explains “We haven’t been designing cities for food. Now we’re starting to have the conversation that maybe we should plant more food-bearing plants around us. The hope is that we can have more and more of those conversations and that in the future our cities can be producing more food for residents than they do now.”
To learn more about Falling Fruit and to use their interactive map, go to https://fallingfruit.org/.