New map pinpoints Edmonton's edible fruit trees
Trees can be used as a way to connect communities, says map's creator
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Edmonton is home to more than 22,000 edible fruit trees that are publicly available to pick — and now we know where they are.
In partnership with the city's open data team, the Edmonton Food Council recently released an online map that pinpoints where our public edible fruit trees are located.
They show the city is littered with all types of cherries, Saskatoons, apples, crab-apples, and pears.
Dustin Bajer, who spearheaded the project with the food council, said the idea sprouted when he and others intially pitched it to city officials at a local open data conference.
“They basically went through existing data and were able to pinpoint which trees they planted could bear fruit,” he said, "because everything that is planted has to be geo-tagged.”
When accessing the map, Edmontonians can click on their communities to see which fruits are available. They can also search by fruit-type.
“There’s really a range of what’s palatable and what’s your preference,” Bajer said. “It’s a really good jumping off point to see what kinds of things we plant.”
In fact, Edmonton didn’t plant the fruit trees for their edible gifts, according to Bajer. Instead, they planted them because they looked good.
“Some of the obvious ones planted for ornamental value are Saskatoons and crab-apples,” he said. “But then there’s also the mayday cherries and chokecherries, which may not be the choice of fruit but can make great jams, jellies and wines.”
He said he hopes the city explores planting more edible fruit-bearing trees, especially ones that don’t make a mess when they ripen, because they can be used to connect people.
“They can kind of be like community gardens,” he said. “People grow food, but how much food comes out of it? We really use them as community spaces, where we get to know one another.”
As for the maps, Bajer hopes people use them to check out what they have to offer. Plus, he plans to combine it with other data sets that show the general locations of urban bee hives and hens.
“It’s a project we can keep adding to,” he said. “It could be a great way to show how our local food products keeps evolving over the years.”