Most cities these days are chock-full of foreclosed properties. Some foreclosed properties are chock-full of fruit trees, vegetable gardens, and other sources of fresh produce. That adds up to a lot of tasty plant matter going to waste — unless people take it upon themselves to harvest food from abandoned houses, either for their own use or to distribute to shelters. That's not legal, but as a New York Times piece makes clear, that doesn't mean it's not a good idea.
Voluntary foraging, where homeowners who have more produce than they can use open their gardens to people who want or need it, has already been having a little bit of a renaissance. So it kind of makes sense to apply that same thinking to properties that are technically owned by faceless banks. If there's fresh food rotting on the trees, why shouldn't someone use it instead? But picking fruit or vegetables at a foreclosed property qualifies as trespassing. Even foragers and organizations that glean abandoned community gardens have historically drawn the line at private foreclosed properties.
But they're all in favor of it, in theory, for other people. And so is at least one bank official:
“If I lived next to somebody who had abandoned fruit trees, I’d go get some myself,” said Jim B. Miller Jr., the chairman of Fidelity Bank in Atlanta. “You shouldn’t be starting a garden on somebody’s property, and you can carry this too far, but if there’s fruit on that tree, it ought to be eaten.”
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