Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Share the bounty: Mapping wild food in Ithaca

A few years ago, Ithaca resident Andy Goodell started noticing fruiting trees and bushes in the City. He discovered that many were edible -- and the fruit was going to waste. Now, he has started a community mapping project, called the Ithaca Foodshed Map, to pinpoint the locations of these plants to share the bounty.

The Google Map is located here: http://bit.ly/ithfood. Anyone can contribute, either with a Google login or by filling out a submittable form.

"The Ithaca Foodshed map started because I was living downtown and found cherry, juneberry, apple and pear trees on the streets around me," Goodell says. "I was collecting some food from these trees, because I could see that otherwise it was just falling on the ground and not being used by anyone. I soon realized that I was also saving some money from this, because cherries were selling for about $6 a quart at the Farmers' Market, but I was getting a quart a week for free from a tree nearby. As I noticed more trees around, I added them to this Google Map so that I could find them again. After that season, I realized that there are so many fruiting trees around that seem to mostly go to waste because few people take advantage of them, so I decided to make this map available online. It's now a collaborative map that anyone contribute to easily. So if you have a tree or bush near you producing more food than you could reasonably want to eat, you can add it to the map to share the free bounty. My hope is that this map can grow as more and more people put in the food locations that they know of, so that many people can eventually benefit from this project."

Of course, before collecting food, be sure that you are 100% certain of the identity of the plant and, if the tree is privately-owned, that you have permission to collect from it.

View Ithaca Foodshed in a larger map

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