Do you ever see fruit trees or bushes or vines just bursting with ripe fruit ready for harvest and wishing you could pick to your heart's desire? Well, thanks to a relatively new movement called "urban gleaning," you just might be able to. Community groups and individuals alike harvest fruit that would otherwise go to waste, and share the bounty with the food bank, property owners, and the fruit pickers themselves.
Urban gleaning programs have popped up all over the globe in the last 3-4 years, and the Wasatch Front has a few of its own too. The City of Salt Lake has its own fruit gleaning program, as does Taylorsville, and Utah County.
Last summer, Fallen Fruit of Utah, by artists David Burns, Matias Viegener, and Austin Young, exhibited at the Salt Lake Art Center, allowing folks to get to know their communities through the fruits they bear. The maps below, of the 9th and 9th and Marmalade neighborhoods, show the locations of several trees and bushes available for gleaning. Click here for printable maps.
Urban gleaning programs across the nation were founded in an effort to reduce or eliminate fruit waste. Seeing what where once perfectly good apples or plums or apricots rotting on the sidewalk is a sad sight, especially to those who may not be able to afford fresh fruit. Programs are cropping up all over the state, but without property owners willing to "volunteer" their trees, gleaning won't be possible. If you have a fruit tree that you're unable to harvest, or even if you can harvest but want to donate the fruit, head on over to Salt Lake City Green to register your tree(s). You'll be happy you did, and you'll make many people in your community very grateful for the harvest.
Check out these great organizations and articles for some inspiration on getting started or involved locally: