You might not know that you do not need a permit to make your city more attractive and abundant with food. That said, there are gardens popping up in vacant lots that were created through guerrilla grafting but somehow fly under the radar of city ordinances.
Guerrilla grafting is one way of making your city more hospitable to their residents without relying on official guidelines. All you really need, take some cuttings from fruit-bearing plants, have a few very simple tools, and provide a little tender loving care.
Why Don’t Cities Plant Fruit Trees?
The reason many cities only plant non-fruit-bearing fruits, they are much easier to care for and no one has to spend a great deal of time cleaning up after these plants dropping their fruit on public places including sidewalks.
There does not seem to be a high-in-demand for people to harvest and distribute fruit nor does anyone have the time. Adding to that, there are places like San Francisco (hold my tongue) that consider grafting as vandalism.
What many places don’t understand, planting and taking care of plants that produce fruit is quite critical for communities in need of fresh fruit such as low-income neighborhoods where these groceries are very hard to come by.
Many of the people in these neighborhoods do not have access to a car to make extra or special trips to the store and do not have the money to spend on healthy items like fruit. These areas, unlike other neighborhoods, are prime for grafting.
Guerrilla Grafters founder, Tara Hui, was denied by city officials when she wanted to alleviate fruit foods shortage in the Bay Area. She decided to take it on herself, she joined with fellow agricultural activists to transform their existing trees into fruit-bearing trees and collect data to prove this really does work.
The group only splices edible plants into areas where volunteers will monitor and maintain the trees to combat problems such as insects and other pests.
If you’d like to start something in your neighborhood, all you need are some fruit tree cuttings, a sharp knife, Ziploc bags, grafting tape, rubber bands, and other household items. Visit the Guerrilla Grafters website to get a manual that you can enlarge to read or download in English, German, or Spanish. Happy Planting!