Seen often in permaculture, gardening, and also urbanism groups are various versions of the “but fruit trees are messy” comment:
This [idea of planting fruit trees along sidewalks and in other public spaces] floats around… but sadly fruit trees are very messy and attract vermin.
Unkempt fruit trees harbor pests that can damage commercial crops (if there are any in the vicinity).
That said, if cities were willing to care for them it would sure be cool.
There’s a website to share excess produce you’ve grown. Ripe Near Me
1) Every human settlement attracts vermin. Even if we had no fruit trees, restaurants alone are enough to attract vermin.
2) When more people realize the value of good fresh food, they won’t see a fruit-smudged car windshield, fruit-strewn sidewalk etc. as such a terrible thing. The minor “messiness” will be far overridden by the appeal of nutrition and a full stomach for all.
Extra benefits from public fruit trees, as with any other public trees, include enhanced public safety, heat mitigation, drought-flood regulator.
Right now, in USA at least, the most vocal people are relatively affluent so to them, “it’s easy to just buy fruit at the grocery store; why plant messy trees?”. But as time goes on, more people will be getting a higher awareness about this.
3) Thank you to this particular commenter for sharing “Ripe Near Me”! I had heard of it before but never checked it out. I will go check it out.
P.S. Regarding the title I chose for this blog post: Bonus points and fabulous prizes to the first person who writes me with a correct ID of the little slice of heaven that this title is a call-out to. (If a certain individual, among the people I hold most dear, is still reading my blog as they used to back in the early 2000s unbeknownst to me at the time, they will get this reference right away!)