Sustainability | Agriculture | Ecotrope

Guerilla Grafters: Helping Public Trees Grow Fruit

Ecotrope | March 16, 2012 2:24 a.m. | Updated: Feb. 19, 2013 1:32 p.m.

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A group of “agro-activists” in San Francisco are grafting fruit branches onto regular trees in public spaces, according to this story in The Atlantic. Presto-chango! Apparently that’s all it takes to turn a boring old leaf-growing tree into one that grows food. From The Atlantic:

“Grafting trees is as simple as cutting a branch from one kind of tree and sticking it into a notch in another, securing it with sturdy tape and hoping that the new branch thrives. It’s as old as the Bible and widely used today in industrial agriculture.”

Public officials aren’t too thrilled about the movement. They say the city government shouldn’t be responsible for harvesting and distributing the food or managing vermin:

“The city’s public works director, Mohammed Nuru, recently told the San Francisco Examiner that trees in the right of way are ‘not for grafting’ and that the city ‘considers such vandalism a serious offense. There would be fines for damage to city property.’”

The agro-activists say they only graft trees if they have volunteers to monitor them and make sure the fruit-growing doesn’t become a problem. I wonder if this is happening anywhere in the Pacific Northwest. A quick Google search shows a Portland group at least has been discussed on the Guerilla Grafters’ Facebook page.

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