Artist Austin Young of the Fallen Fruit project tends to young trees at the Del Aire fruit park near Los Angeles, California.
Have you ever visited a park where you could also get a free and healthy snack? Well, there is a new public park in Los Angeles where you can do just that! Stoneview Nature Center is a five-acre park that grows figs, avocados, lemonade berries, and many other fruits. There, you can pick some community fruit, go on a walk, or enjoy views of the city.
Los Angeles artists David Burns and Austin Young organized the planting of fruit trees at Stoneview Nature Center. They call their project, which started in 2004, Fallen Fruit. Del Aire Park, one of their first fruit parks, opened in 2013. It was the first public fruit park in Los Angeles. The two artists planted 28 fruit trees and 8 grape vines there.
At the Stoneview Nature Center, Fallen Fruit planted fruits that have played an important role in California’s history. Each fruit planted represents parts of the culture and economy of California. The red pomegranates, oranges, yellow lemons, green avocados, blue berries, and purple grapes were planted in a series to follow the colors of the rainbow. The artists really want to help build community with their fruit parks. By sharing fruit together, they hope that people will become more connected with their neighbors.
Stoneview Nature Center is also home to an aquaponics garden and several vegetable gardens. There is a yearly chart that visitors can use to find out which fruits and vegetables are ready for picking. Stoneview also includes nature trails and a community center with an outdoor kitchen. In addition, there is a Bee Hotel for native bees and a Quail Abode for raising quails. These small, short-tailed birds provide eggs for the cooking classes held at the nature center.
Stoneview Nature Center is part of Fallen Fruit’s “The Endless Orchard” project. “The Endless Orchard” is a living sculpture that gives fruit to everyone. The artists think of the project as a “social sculpture” that helps people interact with their neighborhoods in new ways. People can use the project’s online map to share their backyard fruit with their neighbors. Some think this project could become the world’s largest art installation.
Other North American cities have similar urban orchards. These include Seattle, Bloomington, Boston, Toronto, Philadelphia, Baltimore, San Francisco, and Portland. Fruit trees provide food. They also give shade and help improve air and water quality.
Image credit: ©Michal Czerwonka/The New York Times/Redux Pictures
- Fallen Fruit
Learn more about the Fallen Fruit project and see their online map of urban orchards.