Create Fruit Fence planters for your own boring neighborhood fences.
Build your own planters from an open source pattern.
- Use existing city structures Clip a planter to a chain-link fence and grow fruits vertically, in spaces that would normally be inactive, or even ugly.
- City Fruits for City Microclimates We recommend starting out with easy-to-grow fruits that do well in containers and do not make a big mess at harvest time.
- Easy Pattern The Fruit Fence Bags can be sewn with a normal sewing machine and moderate sewing skill. A good project for beginning stitchers.
- Community Care via Social Media We offer a Twitter-based system for community caring for shared fruit planters. Mobile Text-based services planned for future.
- Low-cost MaterialsTyvek and plants are the main cost. Add some digital accessories to your project for added fun.
- Transparent Food Production A printable surface allows the community effort of fruit care to be more educational. The more we understand about fruiting plants, the better we can advocate for stronger regional fruit production
- Self-watering system A self-watering system can be watered from the outside. Watering the plant indirectly helps to protect the health of the plant, which can be maintained by a community of volunteers.
Make a Fruit Fence Planter
Plans for these planters are open-source.
Currently, the planters are in a prototyping stage, the pattern will be refined after some environmental stress testing. If you have questions, message us at firstname.lastname@example.org or via Twitter @fruitfence.
Download Pattern (PDF) This is the first draft of the pattern and sewing instructions. This is for the larger 3 gallon bag.
If you want to make a smaller strawberry bag, change the dimensions of the bag fabric from 20" x 52" to 14 by 40 inches. The strawberry bags are light enough that you can use strips of Tyvek to tie them to the fence.
You will want to figure out where you will put the planter, and learn about the plants before you adopt them.
- Tyvek - UV protected fabric-like Tyvek
- Appropriate Soil
- Appropriate plants (we suggest blueberries and strawberries. The adventurous can try espaliered lemons.)
- Polycotton or extra-strong polyester thread
- Seam sealer
- 2 Carabiners
- Sharp sewing needle (for microfiber fabrics)
We are not big fans of printing on Tyvek with an inkjet printer. It is good for prototyping, but won't hold up to the elements.
Recommend screen printing or ordering prints on a more stable outdoor printing technique.
You can plant very similar to how you would plant a normal container plant. You will want to replant once a year.
Tyvek bags will last up to two years.
Tyvek can be ordered from Material Concepts. We are using Tyvek 1460, the UV-coated fabric-like Tyvek. In theory Tyvek should be available from advertising companies like ClearChannel, but we have not identified a source. You can sometimes order Tyvek from Craigslist or eBay. There is the already printed Tyvek housewrap that is sold at the bigger hardware stores, but we have not tried that kind yet. Paper-like Tyvek should also work, but it is really slippery and more difficult to sew.
A camping-repair supply shop is where we got our carabiners, but if you are making a bunch of bags, ordering in bulk might make more sense. The smaller metal carabiners support about 30-40 pounds of weight. D-rings are helpful to insert in the tabs, but you need to make sure that they can't twist out, because otherwise they stretch under the weight of the bags.
We got our Lemons and Blueberries from FourWinds Growers in Fremont,
For this bag, you will be sewing multiple thick layers. An industrial sewing machine is better. You definitely want the right needles for the job, and be gentle with your machine. Read more about sewing Tyvek.
Since the current bag design includes sewing the sides of the bag together, water can leak out. Future designs will try to avoid this. In the meantime, seam sealer does work to minimize dripping.
These are planters out in the wild city streets. People who see the planters can leave messages about the planter by tweeting @fruitfence and using a special hashtag (ex. #lemon1) which can be seen on the planter bag.
Register your Planter
- @FruitFence on Twitter
- Email: email@example.com
Chacha Sikes is an experience designer interested in cities and hybrid digital/physical city structures. She is passionate about helping amplify the good energy in our regional food systems through innovative technologies. She was a member of the inaugural class of Code for America fellows, a "geek peace corps" in which she did projects around civic engagement for the City of Seattle. She co-founded the Iconathon and Open Food. Most recently, she launched a new (real) lemon sharing game for the Bay Area called Lemonopoly. @chachasikes
Booka Alon An urban agriculture educator and community organizer.
Booka was born and raised in St. Louis, where her she grew up watching her mother propagate new cultivars of African violets during her early childhood, and prepare fresh, seasonal meals for the family. Her father, an architect, had a major impact on her exploration of urban design and civic planning. After graduating with a Bachelor of Science in Political Science from Kenyon College, she lived in the Netherlands for a short while, before returning to St. Louis to begin her own jewelry design business, operating her own shop and managing the online store for four years.
Once moving to the Bay Area in 2006, she sought out ways to blend her appreciation for food, passion for social justice and natural skills as an entrepreneur. As a volunteer coordinator for San Francisco's own Slow Food Nation event, which drew half a million people, she became invested in the Slow Food Movement. She was asked to join Slow Food Berkeley, as Treasurer of the Board and served a year in this role. She was the Operations Director for Oakland's first Eat Real Festival in 2009. In 2010 she turned her attention from slow food to slow farming. While enrolled in an urban permaculture course, she helped activate the Hayes Valley Farm Project, where she continues to lead community events and fundraising initiatives that highlight simple strategies for growing your own food. She currently teaches staff and patients at the Veterans Administration Medical Center of San Francisco, as part of a Kitchen GardenSF workshop series. She also teaches youth programs at local elementary schools in Potrero Hill. Booka currently lives in the Haight, where she nurtures her own small backyard crops. In 2011 she founded the tree-advocacy organization, Roots to Fruits, to support the planting of fruit trees in Bay Area schools and open spaces. In 2012, she joined the team to help launch Just One Tree., an organization dedicated to promoting greater urban self reliance through orchard tree awareness and education.
- Dan Parham
Dan says: "I co-founded Neighborland with Candy Chang and Tee Parham. I am the lead designer, product manager, and run the daily operations for the team. In 2010, I traveled across Asia to research, photograph, and write about tactical urban design. I was inspired by Candy's tactical civic engagement installations at the time, and we began discussing how to, in Tim O'Reilly's words, 'do something that mattered' in New Orleans. The challenge of connecting people within their neighborhoods resonated with me.
We've put together a passionate and skilled team of planners, designers, and engineers to bring Neighborland to everyone in the U.S. Our goal is empower people to inform themselves about what is important in their communities, and take action on those insights." @danparham
A clip-on planter for city fruit fences.
Inspired by Farmacy's AgBags, we have adapted the idea of Tyvek® based agricultural bags to be more friendly to heavier fruit plants, and for clipping to one side of a fence.
We plan to continue to make these visually interesting planter bags and help get more fruit fences to communities.