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Fruitful disobedience: Guerrilla Grafters grow undercover orchards

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Image via Guerrilla Grafters

A secret operation in San Francisco disregards city regulations and grafts fruit branches onto non fruit-bearing public trees, hiding farm-fresh produce in an urban environment. Officials have banned fruit trees from the city sidewalks in the hopes that it will help keep urban areas clean and avoid messy situations as a result of fallen fruit. But Tara Hui and Miriam Goldberg have found a way around that law.

The two women are the leaders of Guerrilla Grafters, a group that exists to make "delicious, nutritious fruit is made available to urban residents" through the creation of inner-city orchards. Using electrical tape to color code their work, the Guerrilla Grafters develop partnerships in each neighborhood they graft in so there's someone local to monitor progress. According to Hui, "There's no ownership of these trees. There's just stewardship."

The LA Times reports that though city officials disapprove of the grafts, they haven't done anything to formally remove them. But, it is considered vandalism and if this project were ever to really gain momentum it's possible that officials would eventually decide to step in and halt it. Others, however, are impressed by their efforts: their work was featured in the "Spontaneous Interventions: Design Actions for the Common Good" exhibit at the 13th International Architecture Biennale in Venice, Italy.

The group (which consists of about 30 people) has grafted about 50 trees so far. Perhaps it will always be a small-scale project, but Guerrilla Grafters is working to reach as many people as possible: they've developed an online mapping app to help track their illicit produce and have an active Facebook group to help grow popularity.

[via LA Times, SF Gate]

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— By on September 17, 2012, 6:56 AM PST

Jenny Wilson

Contributing Editor

Contributing Editor Jenny Wilson is a freelance journalist based in Chicago. She has written for Time.com and Swimming World Magazine and served stints at The American Prospect and The Atlantic Monthly magazines. She is currently pursuing a degree from Northwestern University's Medill School of Journalism. Follow her on Twitter. Disclosure