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Want to learn about local edible plants near you? Check out fallingfruit.org

I just came across a really neat website that I am excited to look into more. https://fallingfruit.org It’s a mix between geocaching, foraging, and prepping. So you plug in your location and view various pinned locations of public edible plants near you that might just have fruit that would fall and go to waste. 

falling

I am excited to dive into it and see which plants I have just been walking past every day that I could be eating. And as a prep, if I learn better at which plants near me are edible, I’ll have some sort of additional food if I ever needed it.

Community Challenge! — Check out your area, go exploring (even if it’s the tree outside your office building), and report back if the site helped you find a tree or bush you could potentially eat from someday.

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  • Comments (7)

    • 4

      Interesting.  There’s nothing listed in my very rural area – certainly not close enough to be worth the drive – but in digitally exploring some of the nearest small cities, I think the site has potential, but also some serious flaws. 

      I like the overall goal of avoiding food waste, especially as it relates to non-wild foods like planted fruit trees in someone’s yard.  I also think it’s cool that some of the listings were posted by the owners themselves.

      But now for the flaws:

      1. Many of the listings just say they are “on public land” and almost seem to assume public = okay to forage, which is very much not the case.  It would be helpful if they said what kind of public land, so one could confirm the rules for foraging on it, and avoid massive fines.

      2. Listings that say they’re on private land and you should ask permission, but aren’t listed by the owner, leave me wondering whether this is with the owner’s knowledge/consent, or if they’re just wondering why a bunch of weirdos are showing up asking to pick their fruit.

      3. Related, there are no dates for when this info was posted or refreshed (unless I overlooked them) so even when it’s listed by the owner, they could have moved years ago and you’d be showing up in some random person’s yard who knows nothing about the project.

      4. One city had all it’s old sugar maples that line the downtown area listed.  Now, I know for a fact that the public is not allowed to tap those for sap!  One guy got fined just for putting a thumb tack in one – the city is very protective of it’s old maple trees!  Though, maybe the idea is to sweep up maple seeds from the sidewalk to eat, which would probably be tolerated.  I just think these sorts of things should perhaps be noted, so people aren’t misled into doing something stupid.

      5. I didn’t like seeing truly wild native foods, especially somewhat rare ones, listed when they were in parks or nature preserves.  It’s one thing if someone visiting the park happens to stumble upon something rare and can’t resist a nibble, but advertising the location could lead to over-harvesting.  As both an avid (but always sustainable) forager myself, and the caretaker of a nature preserve, it’s an issue I’m keenly aware of. 

      Overall I feel like the site needs some work, but is a nice idea.  If there were something domestic – like pears going to waste – near me, I would go check it out for sure, but I just wish there were a little reassurance like, “The owner likes to know when someone’s out there, knock on the door and ask for Sam.” because although I have been known to knock on random doors and ask for windfall fruit, it’s pretty awkward, and I think the older I get the weirder it probably seems. 

      • 2

        You’re an avid forager? …. checks username …. username checks out. 

        Those sound like fair assumptions and were thoughts I had when checking out the site. 

        Thanks for the link Robert, I am going to see if I can find any near me and see if I can update and  improve the listings of the locations I go to.

      • 2

        Thanks for bringing up many things to be aware of such as legal issues and new owners not liking you picking their fruit. I will move forward with caution and courtesy. 

    • 3

      Neat idea, but funny story for you. Brother in law happily picks some beautiful curly dock he finds flourishing in/near a grocery store parking lot. Takes it home, cooks up a healthy portion. Rest of story, we get a call, “Brother, I’m so darn sick, going from both ends…” Sorry, TMI, but, you just can’t be sure sometimes if something has just got a nice dose of Roundup but hasn’t wilted yet, or who know what else it’s been dosed with or grown in. Be cautious & use common sense. Might be fine to pick or…maybe not. Before you ask, he did identify it correctly, I picked & ate some with him on another occasion, delicious & no ill effects.

      • 1

        Good word of caution! Definitely will throughly wash anything I collect.

      • 1

        The vomiting does make me wonder if it had been sprayed (unless he ate an inordinately large portion) but just a note about dock:  It’s degree of edibility is somewhat dependent on growing temperature.  In hot weather it can become highly laxative, and some individual plants of it warn you about this by becoming bitter, while others don’t.  I once made the mistake of thinking “Well, it has been hot, but these few don’t taste bitter. . .” Never again, lol.  I wonder whether perhaps growing near a hot parking lot caused it to get that way earlier in the season than dock in a more wild area would have.

      • 1

        Certainly a possibility, Forager. The ones we ate together were deep in a ditch before weather had heated up in the spring. My husband wouldn’t touch them due to that story, until a couple days later & we showed no ill effects. I never partook of the parking lot produce & (shame on me) teased BIL about his daring choices after he recovered.