connect / 2015

Fruit Change

Fruit Change

Idea submitted in the My LA2050 Maker Challenge by Fruit Change

Fruit Change aims to connect neighbors who have fruit trees with neighbors who want the fruit, subsequently fostering connections between neighbors across age, class, ethnic and geographic borders that may otherwise never happen. Those with trees will be able to trade with their neighbors, thus eliminating the waste of excess fruit. Those without trees can trade in sweat equity by picking, sorting, preserving and delivering fruit with their neighbors.


In what areas of Los Angeles will you be directly working?

  • San Pedro, CA

How do you plan to use these resources to make change?

  • Conduct research
  • Engage residents and stakeholders
  • Implement a pilot or new project
  • Mobilize for systems change

How will your proposal improve the following “Connect” metrics?

  • Rates of volunteerism
  • Adults getting sufficient social & emotional support
  • Attendance at cultural events
  • Participation in neighborhood councils
  • Percentage of Angelenos that volunteer informally (Dream Metric)
  • Total number of local social media friends and connections (Dream Metric)
  • Attendance at public/open streets gatherings (Dream Metric)
  • Residential segregation (Dream Metric)

Describe in greater detail how you will make LA the best place to connect.

The food growing in yards should connect us. If you’ve got fruit literally growing on trees, it should be very easy to share it with your community. Fruit Change aims to put a system in place to ensure neighbors connect with each other, so home grown food doesn’t go to waste when someone nearby could be eating it. Fruit Change aims to solve four problems with the current fruit tree situation in San Pedro. 1: Trees often produce more fruit than the owner can consume, or even pick, so the fruit falls to the ground and rots. This attracts bugs and rodents, can stain the sidewalk and cause slipping hazards. Harvesting is a time consuming, labor intensive process. Not everyone who has a fruit tree has the time or capability to harvest it, but someone nearby does. Fruit Change will connect people who want to pick fruit with those who need someone to pick it. For example, say the owner of a lemon tree must leave town unexpectedly just as a good crop is ripening. At the same time, some kids in the neighborhood are trying to start a lemonade stand. These neighbors need to connect, and Fruit Change will make it possible by digital and face to face methods. The tree owner can make his need made public through the fruit change website or app. The kids can call or visit Fruit Change headquarters with their request for lemons. Fruit Change will connect the two. The tree owner won’t come home to a yard full of rotting lemons, and the kids will get to pick fresh, free lemons for the lemonade stand. The fruit on a tree has the ability start a mutually beneficial relationship between neighbors who otherwise may have never met. 2: Very few people need large amounts of one type of fruit at a time, which is what a tree produces. Say six neighbors each have one tree that produces a different fruit. With Fruit Change, these neighbors can connect and trade. They’ve all eliminated a portion of their grocery bill, know exactly where this food came from, and handed off food they don’t need. 3:People without fruit trees have no easy way of obtaining produce grown in the neighborhood. Fruit Change is at heart a barter system. If you don’t have fruit to trade, you can still bring home that mixed bag of local fruit by offering up something else. Neighbors can volunteer for pickup, delivery, sorting, etc and receive fruit for their labor. 4: San Pedro corner markets don’t sell food from the block. Fruit Change aims to empower Cottage Kitchen producers and change this.

Please explain how you will evaluate your work.

Membership will be measured not only in size, but in connections. For example, if two people connect and grow a relationship that would have never existed without Fruit Change, we will be able to track that, and even qualify the connections (picker/tree owner, canning worker/Cottage Kitchen owner).

All fruit and food products will be counted, each source and destination noted. We will be able to quantify the program’s success by tracking the life of each piece of fruit and how many connections between neighbors it makes. On the membership level, this data can be used to connect directly. For example, if someone needs to make a lot of guacamole, they can contact a grower by looking up the source of a Fruit Change avocado.

We will produce maps that show how much each fruit tree connected the neighbors around it with one season’s yield. The maps will enable neighbors to see how much they have helped each other, while connecting the neighborhood data collectors and artists who make them.

How can the LA2050 community and other stakeholders help your proposal succeed?

  • Money (financial capital)
  • Volunteers/staff (human capital)
  • Publicity/awareness (social capital)
  • Infrastructure (building/space/vehicles, etc.)
  • Education/training
  • Technical infrastructure (computers, etc.)
  • Community outreach
  • Network/relationship support
  • Quality improvement research