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TMD Podcast, S2 E1: Ethan Welty W/ Falling Fruit

Have you ever wondered about the fruit growing in public spaces around your city? Would you like to get to know your city better while eating seasonal fruit at no cost? Tune in as I interview Ethan from Falling Fruit, an online interactive foraging map!

Falling Fruit is a website dedicated to worldwide urban foraging. There you will find an edible map that is described on their website as "a celebration of the overlooked culinary bounty of our city streets". They go on to say that through the map, their hope is to "facilitate intimate connections between people, food, and the natural organisms growing in our neighborhoods".

If you’ve been following my blog for a while, you’ll know that I’m all about urban foraging. I love to see what’s growing around me and come up with different ways to use the flowers or fruits that I find. Foraging helps me feel connected not only to the space around me, but also to the seasons. Ethan adds to my sentiment during the interview, saying that it’s fun to feed ourselves locally from these plants that we are sharing our neighborhood with which i think is a really sweet and gentle way to look at urban foraging.

Throughout the interview we also talk about how food is literally growing above our heads, available to harvest for free and how a lot of the fruit is just dropping and is either going to waste or enticing wild animals to come into the cities. Talking about what a missed opportunity all this dropped fruit is led us to also talk about other missed opportunities in urban agriculture.

They also have a mobile app that is available in both the Android and iTunes stores, and which makes foraging on-the go really easy. You can pull up the map of your location to see what plants are around you at that moment, and you can also contribute by uploading plant locations and types to the map from either app. Another way to contribute to the map is actually one of my favorite functions: When you find a plant on the map, you can comment on that specific location with photos, dates of when you were there with how ripe the fruit was, and I have even see whole recipes in the comments of what someone did with their harvest from that tree! The proceeds from the app go into maintenance of both the site and the app since Falling Fruit is a non-profit run by volunteers.

photo source (also the cherries in the gelato talked about in the episode!)

There have been a lot of other articles written about Falling Fruit and the other projects associated with them which are linked to both from their active Facebook page and from the up-to-date press page on their website. There are lots of great articles that talk more about the studies that have been done about how foraged food is actually more nutritious than farmed food, along with more local articles about urban foraging.

Some of the other links talked about in this episode:

  • Boulder Food Rescue is a non-profit organization whose goal is to create a more just and less wasteful food system. We facilitate the sustainable redistribution of food “waste” to agencies who serve hungry, homeless and low-income individuals while educating communities about food justice.

  • Food Rescue Alliance is a project of Boulder Food Rescue aimed at facilitating grass roots food recovery and movement-building around ending food waste and engaging in food justice both in the Rocky Mountain region, and around the country.

  • For anyone interested in starting a food rescue project in your community, the Boulder Food Rescue team has also created a guidebook that walks you through the steps of starting a bike-powered food rescue which you can download here.

  • Community Fruit Rescue is for when a homeowner is overwhelmed by the bounty of their fruit trees, they can call Community Fruit Rescue to mobilize a team of volunteer pickers. The harvest is split three ways: 1/3 is offered to the homeowner, 1/3 is shared among the volunteers, and 1/3 or more is delivered by bicycle to local organizations feeding the hungry in the community. Everyone wins!

  • Boulder Bear Coalition: The project’s mission is to inspire Boulder residents to harvest, share, and celebrate the bounty of our urban forest.In Boulder, apples, pears, peaches, and plums fall in piles on the ground, creating a dangerous attraction for bears. To help reduce this attractant to bears, Boulder Bear Coalition helps with harvesting local fruit and brings a portion of the fruit to the bears at The Wild Animal Sanctuary.

  • 350 Colorado: The mission of 350 Colorado (350CO) is to work locally to help build the global grassroots movement to solve the climate crisis and transition to a sustainable future. 350 Colorado has established itself as Colorado’s largest grassroots network focused on taking action to stop climate change.

You can listen to the whole interview below:

Do you forage food around your city? Let me know in the comments below if you have any tips and tricks to share with the TMD community!

Have you ever wondered about the fruit growing in public spaces around your city? Would you like to get to know your city better while eating seasonal fruit at no cost? Tune in as I interview Ethan from Falling Fruit, an online interactive foraging map!

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