If a SHTF event hit tomorrow, how long would your family’s food last? The truth is that most of us do not feel confident that our stores could get us through a long-term event. Some of us might not last beyond two weeks. Moreover, even if you do have a storehouse full of beans and rice, fresh fruits and vegetables are always welcome.
The Falling Fruit Map
We’ve discovered a map that helps you find fruit in your neighborhood that might otherwise rot on the ground. It is not the only one, and I’ll give you some other resources below, but Falling Fruit’s goal is to be the most comprehensive map of its kind. Its strength (and potentially its weakness) is that anyone can add information to the map. This allows more data to be added, but it also means that you must verify that the fruit is truly on offer and not added to the site by a passerby with no permission from the owner.
I live in a densely populated area, so I wasn’t sure that the map would have much to offer me. When I typed in my home address, though, I immediately found a loquat tree and several mulberry trees in my neighborhood, with many others within an easy drive of my home.
I started looking through The Lost Book of Remedies and I found so many tinctures and remedies I could make using trees.
Try it for yourself at Falling Fruit. I recommend typing in your zip code or city first, then your actual address. You’ll be able to quickly see whether any fruit is free for the taking in your neighborhood. And don’t forget to add those addresses where you see fruit on the ground going unused. Let’s do all we can to reduce food waste.
Please remember to ask the landowner for permission before gathering fruit. This includes fruit found on public land and in parks. I once waited until the fruit was perfectly ripe before harvesting a mango tree in my front yard. When I went out to gather the fruit, I found that a neighbor had picked the tree clean. He probably thought that I wasn’t going to use the fruit. I won’t tell you what I thought of him. So, please ask first.
As I said, Falling Fruit isn’t the only site that can help you out. The two sites below are good for large areas of the country. There are also many small websites and maps that cover specific local neighborhood. You can find these with a simple search on the internet.
Edible Cities relies on Google Maps, and requires that you allow Google to know your location to bring up the map. It shows the locations of many different plants that can be foraged for food, including greens, vegetables, and fruits. I didn’t find much in my area, but some users report good results.
Fruits of the Hood shows edible plants in the Southeast plus Pennsylvania and Oregon. Most of the plants are in the original area of North Carolina, but it has branched out into neighboring states. I don’t live in the area, so I was unable to test the site on its usefulness. If you try it, let us know what you find in the comments below.
Keeping Track of Foraging Opportunities
I suggest keeping a journal and map of where you find edible plants. In a SHTF situation, it could be a real lifesaver for you and your family. Note where you found the food, when it is ripe or available, and be sure to include good identification information so that you can positively identify the plant before you harvest it.
I know one forager who takes this plan one step further and plants seeds from his kitchen scraps on vacant land around his neighborhood. It is not a garden and requires nothing more than dropping the seeds and keeping up with their location. When he returns, he sometimes finds a free bounty of vegetables or fruits. It doesn’t work well where the land is mowed regularly, but can be done in lightly wooded areas that get some sun but are difficult to mow.
I forage for edible fruits, vegetables, salad greens, and medicinal herbs and I rely on good identification data to help me with this task. It is extremely important that you can positively identify the plant, which parts are edible, and how to prepare it.
A good physical book, such as The Lost Book of Remedies, is available to you anytime (once you’ve purchased it, of course), but online maps and resources may not always be available. To make use of online sources, make a physical copy now and visit the location and verify the information for yourself. Make careful notes so that you will have everything you need when the SHTF.
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