By Angel Jennings, Los Angeles Times
Los Angeles, CA (January 6, 2013) – Residents of the Del Aire neighborhood, part of unincorporated LA County, have planted 27 fruit trees at Del Aire Park and 60 additional fruit trees in the surrounding neighborhood as part of a larger park renovation. The public orchard, the first in the state, was planted by and entrusted to the community. The $4 million improvements, including the fruit trees, were paid for from funds designated for civic art. This blend of food and aesthetics the County Supervisor calls “edible art.”
This edible landscape is part of a growing trend to bring fruit trees to urban areas for a variety of community uses. The idea behind the Del Aire Park orchard was sharing, creating something that gives residents ownership in their park and an opportunity to share in the harvest starting about three years down the road.
A group of three artists, known as Fallen Fruit, helped design the orchard. One of the artists, Austin Young, said Boston, New York and Madrid are among the cities experimenting with edible landscaping. Residents planted a variety of trees, including plums, pomegranates, limes, avocados, and apricots.
Before its makeover, many Del Aire residents regarded the park as run-down. So last summer, as the renovations took shape, events were held to entice locals to enjoy the public space right in their backyard, including a “fruit jam” where residents were encouraged to bring food items that could go into a jam everybody shared.