Our street verges, parks and spaces in the local bushland all offer space, soil and sunlight that is potential growing area for food crops, especially tree crops, that could make our community's food supply much more secure in the long run.
It takes some years to establish productive tree crops, and ensuring food security requires action now to plan ahead for the future.
Non- food-producing trees, such as leopard trees and paperbarks, help to draw down some carbon from the atmosphere, but they also compete for sunlight and water and space with plants in our own gardens. Land used in this way is no longer available to put into production for building up our supply of local food production.
Overseas in places such as Britain, planting food-producing trees in public places such as streets and parks is now starting to be seen as an important response to the need for greater resilience and food security.
Trees which produce food crops can also help reduce carbon in the atmosphere, and they can produce fuel and timber supplies, as well as making our suburbs cooler and shadier.
Trees take up a lot of room, but can be extremely productive food-supplies if managed well. This requires discussions about types and uses of trees, how to acquire and plant them, where to plant them, how to manage them, where to grow them, and how to manage food produced .
Harvesting and managing the collection and distribution of food from public trees (gleaning) is a skill. It is important that fruit is collected and managed, rather than letting it fall on the ground or get fly-blown. This skill is not currently well understood here, and learning it will take some time and local discussion.
Active tree-planting programs in Australia have tended to concentrate on 'native' species, and preserving biodiversity of native species. However, Australia is also signatory to the UN Convention on Biodiversity that includes preserving biodiversity of food-producing species, and at present Australia is failing in its responsibilities in relation to this Convention. Native species will not help us much if we need local food resilience to feed people and livestock. We live in a valley of abundant native trees, but are paying little or no attention to planting productive trees that have enabled humans to live for thousands of years.
Log on to Transition The Grove to join a Forum discussing food-producing trees in public places in The Grove.
Jackfruit trees and nut trees and other food-producing trees scattered throughout public places in The Grove could provide an important resource for food resilience, while providing shade and beauty and absorbing carbon.
The Sub-Tropical Fruit Society could be consulted to select a variety of species suitablle to this bio-region, and pest-resistant.
Trees take a lot of space. Rather than all having our own, let's scatter different food-producing tree-types throughout The Grove, and document where they are, to share.