I’ve mentioned some of my dad’s sayings in previous posts, most notably “Prior planning prevents piss poor performance.” Well, here’s another one, although I doubt it is entirely of his provenance: “two-fer.” If you’re not familiar with the term “two-fer” then it’s time to get on board. The idea is simple, you get two for the price of one. This is at the heart of “being green.” If an action does not save energy and money, then it’s not worth it. By saving energy one also saves money, hence the two-for-one, or two-fer. This is also where economic and environmental sustainability merge. The former represents situations where benefits outweigh costs. Saving energy, especially in the cases of low-hanging fruit like conservation and efficiency, yield a quick return on investment.
These examples are pretty common and perhaps even a bit obvious. In watching the leaves unfurl as trees move from the dormant stages of winter to the full foliage of summer, I wondered why more streets aren’t lined with fruit trees. In climates where these trees require no more care than those that currently shade the summer sidewalk, why not plant fruit trees? With foraging on the rise, NPR ran a story recently about the growing movement of foodscaping. Books about edible landscapes (including Alice Waters’s Edible Schoolyard) abound. Fallen Fruit, “a long-term art collaboration that began by mapping fruit trees growing on or over public property in Los Angeles,” represents one example of how to effectively use public spaces to achieve multiple benefits. Instead of letting fruit trees drop their annual bounty and having the valuable calories go to waste, people can forage for the “free” fresh food.
If the issue is clean up and the potential mess created by fruit falling from trees and rotting, then maps like those produced by Fallen Fruit are an option. Another idea is to employ groups to collect fruit from trees for donation, sale, or consumption. While California is an easy example (I’ve seen rosemary used as hedges, another example of a two-fer), apple trees could easily replace the deciduous trees that merely serve as ornamental foliage in more cold weather climates.