Over the summer, Fallen Fruit was excited to hear that the City of Los Angeles was expected to approve a long-awaited revision to the law that, right now, prohibits the planting and cultivation of any fruit-bearing trees or plants in public space. In July, we got word that City Council was set to adopt a new list of recommended trees, including apricots, almonds, lemons, avocados, and other types of fruit trees that thrive in California. This was just in time for us to plant the more than one hundred fruit trees we wanted to give away around Central LA!
At the last minute, one Councilmember asked that this new tree policy revision be put on hold until more tree-planting guidelines could be written and reviewed. This was after the City’s Bureau of Street Services, which manages street and tree maintenance, said that it would welcome requests to plant fruit trees immediately.
Tree planting in the City of Los Angeles works like this: you can plant anything you want in your own yard. If you want to plant something in what’s called the “public right of way,” which includes the strip of grass between the sidewalk and street, you’re required to get permission from the City and only certain varieties can be planted.
Los Angeles is way behind a number of other cities in this regard. In other communities, not only fruit trees but entire vegetable gardens can be cultivated at the edge of the street, allowing people to grow, eat and share their own food.
Fallen Fruit has been waiting for the city to address this long-stalled issue. Public and administrative support for fruit trees has been demonstrated. The City agency whose job it is to maintain trees and sidewalks has said YES. We have fruit trees ready to put in the ground!