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This Tree Produces Forty Types of Fruit

The living, edible art of Sam Van Aken's grafted stone fruit experiment

Sam Van Aken courtesy of Ronald Feldman Fine Art

A few years ago, Sam Van Aken, an artist and professor at Syracuse University, found an orchard near Geneva, New York that had many varieties of fruit growing on its property, but which because of financial hardship, was about to close. Van Aken stepped in and bought the orchard, and set to making a tree. Through a process called “chip grafting” (taking a sliver of a tree that includes the bud, taping it into a cut in the tree, and then letting it heal over the winter), Van Aken created a beautiful Franken-tree that grows 40 varieties of apricots, peaches, nectarines, plums, and cherries (and maybe almonds).

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The Fact That Changed Everything: Meg Glasser and Food Forward

Food Forward does what Robin Hood may have done if his beat were fruit instead of riches: Excess fruit is distributed to the people who need them.


This content is brought to you by GOOD, with support from IBM. Click here to read more stories from The Fact That Changed Everything series and here to read about other Figures of Progress.

Food, like the mind, is a terrible thing to waste, especially when people in the United States throw out tons and tons of food every year while an increasing, record-breaking number of people go on food stamps. In Los Angeles County, California, where up to 70 percent of homeowners in the county have at least one fruit tree on their property, Food Forward does what Robin Hood may have done if his beat were fruit instead of riches: It organizes and takes surplus fruit from people’s backyards and distributes them to the people who need them the most.

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Fuel Gets Fruity: Converting Produce Scraps into Gas

Composting isn't the only socially responsible way to manage food scraps.

The compost pile and worm bin are no longer the only appropriate resting places for peach pits, banana peels, and apple cores. The Fraunhofer Institute for Interfacial Engineering and Biotechnology IGB, Europe's largest applied research center, announced last week that it will begin turning old produce into bio-gas at a pilot site in Stuttgart, Germany. Conveniently located next to the city's wholesale vegetable market, the facility will use microorganisms to transform food scraps into methane gas, which can power a car once compressed and emits less carbon dioxide during combustion than gasoline.

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Feast Your Eyes: Uli Westphal's Archive of Non-standard Fruits, Roots, and Vegetables

Stunning photos of forked carrots and curvy cucumbers ask us to rethink how we perceive and classify food—and what that says about us.

Artist Uli Westphal has been working on his Mutato-Archive since 2006. It is, as he describes it: "a collection of non-standard fruits, roots, and vegetables found at Berlin's Farmers' Markets."

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Photography: The Value of a Dollar

A new photo series "The Value of a Dollar" showcases a dollar's worth of various foods.

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