THE ENDLESS ORCHARD
If a piece of fruit falls from a tree in a park, is it up for grabs? Artists David Burns, Matias Viegener, and Austin Young posed that question to the Los Angeles community back in 2004 as an art project called Fallen Fruit. 12 years later, it’s brought them to Puerto Valarta, a New York City landmark and the Kickstarter homepage.
Fallen Fruit, a collaboration between the original three (Viegener left in 2013) got its start in 2004 with an open call from The Journal of Aesthetics and Protest. “We asked, is it possible to be an activist without being against something?” said Burns. The team created a map of public parks in Silver Lake of “fallen fruit,” that is, fruit on public property that was up for grabs.
Their advocacy project used graphics to visualize accessible fruit that really anyone can get. It’s even better to get them for free. “Fresh fruit should be a public right. It’s a gift,” said Burns, “It isn’t something you should pay for.”
“Endless Orchard,” their current Kickstarter project, expands on years of work in both museums and creative conferences devoted to getting more fruit to more people outside the rigid lines of a grocery store.
Starting next month with 200 seedlings in the Los Angeles Historical Park, “Endless Orchard” would be an expansive community of public fruit trees following walking trails. Using an online social media portal, participants can plot, plant, and map fruit trees throughout the city. But it’s not limited to Los Angeles. Given the nature of a social media network, “Endless Orchard” can expand practically anywhere in the world. Their ultimate vision is a spread of cities planted with fruit trees—one giant edible art project that’s bringing fresh produce to some long established food deserts. “Fruit trees are the materials for art,” said Burns.
The world is becoming Fallen Fruit’s canvas, and “sharing” fruit through social media is taking on an entirely new meaning.
Fallen Fruit was profiled in Put A Egg On It Issue 6.