London (AFP) Oct 25, 2010
An apple tree heavy with fruit hangs over the road from a private garden, unnoticed by passers-by until fruit pickers start the age-old harvest ritual -- smack in the midst of London's urban jungle.
Brandishing a long pole, Rupert Kenyon stretches to get the apples from even the highest branches while Marlene Barrett gathers them into a cart, to be sold or juiced.
The city pickers' motivation is two-fold: partly in protest about tonnes of London fruit regularly left to rot, and partly out of environmental concern to promote locally-sourced food.
And they have a wealth of produce to choose from in one of the world's greenest capitals, proud of its many parks, green spaces and private gardens.
"Are those edible?" asked a man, intrigued, as he walked his dog on the leafy north London street where Kenyon and Barrett toiled away.
In reply, Kenyon bit into a slightly dented but still shiny apply. "It has a pink flesh, it's pretty sour but they make nice red juice," he said.
Most of the harvesters are volunteers but their numbers are swelling in London, a city of seven million people with a plentiful supply of trees -- but many of them unnoticed by busy local residents.
"There is a lot of abandoned fruit in the gardens. People are not used to eating anything that does not come from a shop," said Kenyon.
Choosing streets at random, the pickers take from publicly accessible trees and parks or knock on house doors to ask owners of fruit-filled gardens if they can harvest them.
At one house, which hid a tiny yard where Barrett had previously picked fruit, only the cleaning lady was home and would not let them in. But thanks to publicity in the local press and a word-of-mouth campaign, the volunteers generally receive a warm welcome.
The Organiclea association, which Barrett works for, collected about 30 tonnes of fruit last year -- mostly apples but also pears, plums, figs, nuts and cherries.
The fruit is sold either in seasonal food boxes along with vegetables or is pressed into juice. Other similar ventures distribute pickings to schools or organisations that work with homeless people.
"We are not trying to claim all these fruits are for sale. We are trying more to encourage everyone to see what is there and to make use of it," Barrett told AFP.
And it seems to be working. "We used to collect from the grounds of a hospital. One year, they said: 'We're sorry, we are using the fruit'," she said, smiling.
Big on the pickers' agenda is advocating the benefits of eating locally-grown food as the environmentally-friendly option.
"We don't create the kind of problems that the big industry food system can create in terms of too much packaging and reduced nutrition because things have been stored for such a long time. And then there are the food miles they create..." she said.
The volunteers say the London fruit is nutritious and tasty, and you can find varieties that are not stocked by major retailers.
They also insist there is no risk of contamination by pollution, a claim endorsed by findings at the University of Sheffield in northern England where researchers examined city fruit and found it safe.
However, many remain cautious, like Ahmed Iftikhar, a 26-year-old Pakistani who takes care to wash the pears he eats from a neighbour's tree.
An enthusiastic picker, Iftikhar struggles to get all the pears down before they rot -- so welcomed the harvesters when they offered to help during one of their rounds.
With their long pole, the team got some of the hardest-to-reach pears from the top of the tree -- a bumper crop from the "big smoke".
Share This Article With Planet Earth
Farming Today - Suppliers and Technology
Philippines, Norway vaults play key roles in rice diversity
Los Banos, Philippines (AFP) Oct 24, 2010
In a greenhouse near the Philippine capital, botanists grow strange grasses that bear tiny seeds which are promptly flown to a doomsday vault under Norway's Arctic permafrost. The Norway deliveries are just the newest facet of a decades-old effort by more than 100 countries to save the world's many varieties of rice which might otherwise be lost. A fire-proof, quake-proof, typhoon-proof ... read more
China launches own version of Google Earth|
Prototype NASA Earth Camera Goes For Test Flight
TanDEM-X And TerraSAR-X Imaging Etna While Flying In Formation
NASA Watches Typhoon Megi Dump Heavy Rain
S.Africa implants GPS chips in rhino horns to fight poaching
Rhinos equipped with GPS tracking
Locating Caregivers Quickly
Better Location Accuracy Equals Increased Revenues
Brazil mulls land auction to beat logging
Footage shows land clearing threatens Indonesia tigers: WWF
Litter collected, trees planted for global climate campaign
Deforestation examined in U.N. report
Carolina pioneering human waste-to-energy
Port Gibson Biomass Plans Taking Shape
Algenol Biofuels Opens Labs In Florida
Supporting The Advancement Of DoD's Net Zero Energy Initiative
California Proposition 23 debate heats up
Desert tortoises could delay solar project
US Solar Installations Expected To Double In 2010
BioSolar Introduces Bright-White BioBacksheet For Improved Efficiency
Wind power to grow massively until 2030
China's wind power capacity to increase five-fold by 2020
Google in major bid for Eastern US wind power
Findings About Wind Farms Could Expand Their Use
China mines to beef up safety after Chile rescue: official
China mine death toll hits 31 as anger rises over rescue
Hope fades for trapped miners in China after 26 killed
China mine death toll hits 31 as anger rises over rescue
US, China have 'fundamental disagreement' over Liu: Holder
China activists plan whistleblower site to spur reform
Wary Chinese will complicate huge census effort: official
China VP promoted as party pledges political reform
|The content herein, unless otherwise known to be public domain, are Copyright 1995-2010 - SpaceDaily. AFP and UPI Wire Stories are copyright Agence France-Presse and United Press International. ESA Portal Reports are copyright European Space Agency. All NASA sourced material is public domain. Additional copyrights may apply in whole or part to other bona fide parties. Advertising does not imply endorsement,agreement or approval of any opinions, statements or information provided by SpaceDaily on any Web page published or hosted by SpaceDaily. Privacy Statement|