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Culture Lust by Angela Carone

Fallen Fruit Artists

Artists behind collaborative art project Fallen Fruit

It's been a long time since I've heard the phrase "the land of fruit and nuts" in reference to California's agricultural bounty, instead of its more common reference to a state full of kooky hippies in search of free love and communal living.  But drive out of the state's urban areas or away from the coast and it's easy to see how much actually grows within our borders.  A couple of artists from Los Angeles have been taking this idea one step further (actually far fewer steps). They want you to walk out your front door, down the street, around the corner, and pay attention to the fruit growing in your neighborhood. Is that your neighbor's lemon tree?  What about that lime tree in the boulevard, who owns that? Can I actually eat this fruit? 

These artists, three in all, began mapping the fruit in their Los Angeles neighborhood of Silver Lake.  They figured out which fruit trees were considered "public fruit" and began organizing community members to go out and forage this public fruit to distribute throughout the neighborhood.  They called their project Fallen Fruit and eventually wrote a manifesto.  Which, by the way, I think everyone should write a manifesto at some point in their lives. Don't leave it up to the revolutionaries and artists among us.  Man up and write. 

Anyway, Fallen Fruit and it's creators, David Burns, Matias Viegener and Austin Young will be at MCASD's TNT event tonight to talk about Fallen Fruit and make some jam.  Fallen Fruit has developed many arms to its art-making, and one is holding communal jam-making sessions. They don't use recipes and instead encourage people to improvise and see what they come up with.  Burns says they have some favorite flavors from these sessions:  grapefruit-berry-mint, plum-pomegranate, and fig-lemon-lavender.  He says "each jam is really different but these three were complete crowd pleasers."

public made jam

Burns and Young were on These Days earlier this week.  You can listen to their interview here .   Go check them out tonight at TNT.  The community collaboration and processes they've modeled help us all rethink our environment and relationship to what the earth yields.  After a little time with these guys, you might want to break free from the binding yoke of Whole Foods produce prices and claim the fruit that's rightfully yours, right outside your front door.  Rise up and fruit forage! 

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