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Wednesday, February 29, 2012

San Francisco Goes in for Guerrilla Grafting, While Seattle Plants an Edible Park

Posted By on Wed, Feb 29, 2012 at 7:30 AM

click to enlarge These crab apple trees could one day grow fat Galas or Cameos, too.
  • These crab apple trees could one day grow fat Galas or Cameos, too.

The San Francisco-based Guerrilla Grafters have been receiving a slew of press this past month, including writeups in the Bay Citizen and Huffington Post. The Grafters are a loose group of people trying to transform, one limb at a time, some of the ornamental apple and pear trees in San Francisco so they bear edible fruit. 

SFoodie first talked to guerrilla grafters in the East Bay a half-dozen years ago -- gardeners who approached it as with a surrealist's joy, often doing their work in public parks. The new movement is approaching the work with a food-justice bent of mind, growing fruit in neighborhoods with few produce stores.

Seattle, though, is one-upping the Guerrilla Grafters -- heck, it's more like 25-upping. Urban foraging in Seattle is a civic sport there, and every resident there has a favorite spot in some alley or public park where they pick blackberries for jam or, in SFoodie's brother-in-law's case, porcinis for Sunday dinner. Now, a group of Seattleites have come up with the funds to plant a seven-acre "edible forest" this summer. 

The Beacon Food Forest, located in a low-to-middle-income neighborhood on the south side of town, will be filled with edible plants, from nuts and herbs to dozens of kinds of berries -- all free for the taking. "We look at it this way," landscape architect Margarett Harrison told TakePart, "if we have [no berries] at the end of blueberry season, then it means we're successful."

Follow us on Twitter: @sfoodieand like us on Facebook.
Follow me at @JonKauffman.

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Jonathan Kauffman


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