Just kidding. This is fun! A group called Guerrilla Grafters are doing something that's illegal but nonetheless kind of rad: They're going around town and grafting baby fruit-tree branches onto existing street trees, creating, at least a couple years from now, surprise "orchards" of free fruit where you'd least expect it. As CBS 5 reports, the group has been quietly doing their work under cover of night for "several years," and they won't say what neighborhoods they've been working in, but it could be a lot of them.
The thing is, with this technique which involves finding sterile, non-fruit-bearing fruit trees and grafting a single fruit-bearing branch onto them it can take anywhere from two to five years for that branch to bear fruit, so very little of this fruit has made an appearance yet. But come 2018 or 2019, they say, we should be seeing this surprise fruit all over.
What's especially cool about this is that cities like San Francisco don't plant fruit-bearing fruit trees on city streets for a good reason, namely the mess they create when the fruit isn't picked and falls, and the subsequent rodent problem that attracts. (Instead, they plant the sterile fruit trees for their flowers.) But one branch of fruit is perfect! Not a big mess, and chances are when neighbors catch on they'll pick that fruit before it falls.
Says one of the grafters, Margaretha Haughwout, "Really, when you introduce new life into a neighborhood, then you’re also introducing new kinds of relationships." She says that people should be less concerned about rodents and more concerned with people who can't afford fresh fruit, or those who might just want to start a conversation about it with their neighbors.
Some of you may be familiar with the work of artist Sam Van Aken who has been working on grafting multiple types of fruit branches onto single trees in his Tree of 40 Fruit project. And I suggest the Guerrilla Grafters make a few of those franken-trees, too.
So, look up! That cherry blossom tree down the street that always looks so pretty in March but never bears any cherries? It just might start.