Falling Fruit needs help: Mapping Free Food Around the World

Blog from Resilience Community by Caleb Phillips, originally published by Shareable


Who is interested in Finland?

”In 2008, while living in Boulder and working toward a Ph.D. in Computer Science at the University of Colorado, I created the original Falling Fruit. Inspired by Urban Edibles, a foraging map for my hometown of Portland, Oregon, I sought to create a similar one for Boulder. I started by expanding a map created by Marco Lam and his students at Naropa University. More than pointing the way to free lunch, I hoped to remind Boulder’s denizens that fruits and vegetables don’t grow on grocery store shelves, they grow on plants – including those many neighborhood trees from which they fall, unused, to quietly stain our sidewalks.”

”Today, Falling Fruit is the world’s largest foraging map, and the only one (to my knowledge) to be fully open source and open data. On this massive, collaborative ”wikiwikimap,”—the use of the term wikiwiki is a nod to Ward Cunningham in Portland, who created the first wiki—thousands of citizen cartographers are exploring and growing our collective knowledge of free and harvestable food around the globe.

We are currently hard at work on a mobile app so folks can find and add locations of free food no matter where they are. (App development was made possible by the backers of our spring crowdfunding campaign – thanks y’all!). We are currently translating our platforms into other languages so that our service can be accessible to folks no matter what language they speak. And we continue to grow the map, mapping nectar and pollen sources favored by honeybees and other pollinators, expanding our map of ”fruiting” dumpsters to raise awareness about food waste, and mapping food-bearing plants in yet more cities around the world.

We need you to help us help you (and your neighbors)! Here are some ways:

  • Map your neighborhood on Falling Fruit
  • Speak a language other than English? Translate Falling Fruit
  • Track down and send us your city’s tree inventory. See here for a list of datasets we have already imported
  • Organize harvests of underutilized fruit in your neighborhood. See here for a list of organizations already doing this
  • Be among the first few to preview our app (and help support our project financially) by donating $10 or more at bit.ly/fruityapp. Thanks!
  • If you’d like to lend a hand, or have data to share, write us at info@fallingfruit.org