TALK | Fallen fruit

Posted on 01/03/2013


I quite liked this facebook exchange and wanted to keep it. It dovetails into this past week’s thinking/reading/writing about gender, politics, mapping and emergency. It started with a posting of a news story about a bumper fruit crop being left to rot due to a various market conditions and failures. I love how this rolls into a humourous, generative conversation of possibilities based on recognising a potential for ‘something else’, a recognition of value that arises from the sense of loss about waste. It’s possibly where some mapping capabilities come into play too – thinking about how disaster and emergency response information is often communicated – via Google maps and the feral fruit trees mapping initiatives. Key question for me is what happens next. I love the ‘let’s do it’ spirit, reminiscent of Rosie the Riveter. How can we create the space to initiate an emergent response? Perhaps it requires platforming. For example, John and I have been brainstorming with a regional community about the possibility of a Jamming Festival that draws together music and jam making (and probably other traditional crafts).


Linda How absurd …

Thousands of tonnes of peaches to rot on ground
A near-perfect growing season has produced a high-quality crop of canning peaches in the Goulburn Valley this year.
But sadly for growers, the Australian dollar and cheaper imported products have forced the local cannery to cut its intake of fruit again.
That means thousands of tonnes of peaches are likely to rot on the ground.

1 Like  • Peter likes this.

Lisa  🙂

Nora  I’m thinking this happens alot. Why don’t people just go to pick them, take them away, use them, sell them whatever.. does anyone do this and have a farm holiday? we need to take some responsibility for our food production. In Finland everyone has a right to go anywhere to pick the copius amounts of berries each year from srping thru to autumn. They have an everyman’s right to do so. They are finding now that people are getting too lazy to go and pick themselves and at the same time are getting upset that a ‘cheap workforce’ is coming in from overseas to do the picking and selling at the markets. We just don;t seem to understand the value of food…
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Mary  yes but finland is awesome.
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Linda  it’s silly isn’t it? this sort of thing warrants emergency response from communities and governments. empty buildings, rotting food … the waste is unacceptable … i could imagine a resurgence of the CWA as an emergency food preserving and jam making corps at times like this …
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Linda  and yeah, like Mary said, Finland is awesome!

Mary  a jamathon. A Fruitathon.
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Mary make a press release! do it linda!
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Nora yes lets do it!
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Lisa Exactly what I was picturing too … a jam corp, like the SES but for food rescues.
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Mary LARPers! Eat PEACHES!
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Public Fruit Jam » Fallen Fruit
Public Fruit Jam Public Fruit Jam, collaborative performance, 2006 – ongoing

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Mary awesome. do you know of “Feral Trade”? — Kate Rich or her devotees might need take action here. Personally, I like dried peaches.

Feral Trade Cafe |
An art exhibition that is also a working café, Feral Trade Café opens

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Linda Thanks Lisa – I was looking for that link … And Mary, Feral Trade Cafe looks cool. It seems to involve being more opportunistic, cooperative and enterprising [rather] than supplicants to vapid and brutal market forces. Economies can nourish and be nourished. I’ll add this to my list of things to do!

Peter It’s a complex question of industrial scale production & processing … and then a question of markets & price. Fruit like peaches are particularly challenging in that they are delicate & have a short shelf life … this story links to the earlier closure of tomato processing in the region. Art projects draw attention to these issues, but the problem is large volumes, international trade/ dollar values & flooded markets (it all ripens at once). The first time I picked fruit in that area of central Vic (1979) the peaches were rotting on the ground due to labour shortages (a problem that’s still there in seasonal rural work) … the last time I picked apples (2004) I worked to supermarket demands on size and colour – fruit was graded according to how it would look on the shelf (nothing to do with quality … just market demand for 85% colour/red and consistent size) … jam making … yes … but in massive amounts … get out the Vacola jars! The political economy of food … food miles … supermarket power & loss leading prices … etc.
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Lisa Yep, plenty of complexities, but all part of the industrialisation of food production, perhaps things like this will eventually lead us back to small scale, localised production, crop sharing and seasonal eating?
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Linda  OK. To segue into this more pragmatic outlook – go on just rain on our girl-powering-jam-maker-hood – Massive community based jam making probably isn’t the point. rather it’s the number of small scale responses to a problem like that and how that could be expedited through principles like emergency response, opportunism, enterprise and cooperation. We find ourselves exhausted by constant crises and system failures yet more and more resources goes into maintaining those systems rather than sustaining ourselves. If you used situations like this to arrive at other scenarios then that makes for some kind of thinking or imagining towards an alternative way of being in the world.
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Lisa  Exactly.
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