Tuesday, March 07, 2006

Fallen Fruit

There is a great article by Lance Webster in the March issue of BLADE magazine about Fallen Fruit, a trio in Silver Lake that search for and harvest "public" fruit from around LA. They share the fruit with each other and organizations feeding the hungry, as well as educate the public about the fruits they find.

I can remember how excited Mom was when she discovered that our first home in Los Angeles actually had an avocado tree in the yard! She was beside herself with glee, city girl (and avocado lover) that she was. Our last house in Los Angeles had an olive tree in the front yard that we never harvested, to our regret. Now I'm an olive oil fiend, and to think we once had our own tree!

I understand the new owners took the tree out. I don't even want to go past the house to see... To pull up a healthy, fruit bearing tree with a life span of some 300-800 years has to be one of the true crimes against nature.

A long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away, I took a drive down to El Toro with my first lover and my best friend. The three of us happened on an old orange grove no longer commercially viable (there are, in fact, no longer any orange groves in Orange County) where the farmer let us pick all the oranges we could carry. In no time, we filled the car with bushels of oranges that we later distributed to everyone in our neighborhood. It was a lot of fun --I remember us laughing and climbing and gathering with glee; we hadn't known even five minutes earlier how we would be spending our afternoon. Later we sat on a bluff looking out to the Pacific Ocean and talking about the future and dreams and stuff.

The last time I went up that same road, the orange groves had all been replaced by suburban sprawl and a city of a quarter million people. I couldn't tell if where we'd picked our oranges was now the mall or the Marie Callender's or the Jiffy Lube.

Of the trio behind Fallen Fruit, I recognized the name of Matias Viegener. I haven't seen him in ages. He teaches at CalArts; in another galaxy, a long, long, time ago, he read as part of the Gay Men's Writers Series at A Different Light in Silver Lake. It was one of the most magical and incredibly entertaining nights at a reading that I've ever been to. We're both in the same anthology, Sundays at Seven, of literature from the series edited by the late James Carroll Pickett and Rondo Mieczkowski.

There's a link in the header above to Fallen Fruit.

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