Neighbors

The Bounty Next Door

THE IDEA CAME in a dream. One night Kaytea Petro, co-founder of Neighbor-hood Fruit, dreamt she was searching on a Web site for public fruit trees throughout San Francisco. “Once I realized this site didn’t exist yet, I knew it was a good idea,” Petro told Sojourners. “Everybody likes backyard fruit.”

Today, more than 5,000 trees are registered on the Neighborhood Fruit Web site, a database where people can locate a fruit tree in their community, register fruit trees available for public consumption, or make direct transactions, called “fruitfillments,” in which one user lists their tree to be harvested and another user volunteers to harvest the fruit in exchange for a bag of it.

Gathered produce is also often donated to food pantries and shelters, something they encourage, says Oriana Sarac, Petro’s business partner. “We are looking to level the playing field for different socioeconomic groups by bringing fresh, local produce to them, especially immigrant and lower-income families”—a concept as biblical as it is pragmatic. As it says in Leviticus 19, “You shall not strip your vineyard bare …; you shall leave them for the poor and the alien.”

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Sojourners Magazine September/October 2009
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Our Neighbors Are Everywhere

I appreciate Derek Webb’s zeal for doing what’s right, but I wonder just how many latrines and wells Webb has gotten his hands dirty digging (“Nashville’s New Groove,” by Bob Smietana, April 2009). As a missionary working with the poor and oppressed in my own country, with our First Nations people, I am offended by Webb’s flippant comment that “if you don’t follow Jesus to places like Africa, India, and Asia, you might want to check whether or not it is Jesus that you are following.” Remarks like this insult the thousands of missionaries working in “third world” conditions in our country and yours with the same “neighbors” Jesus and Webb speak about.

I applaud those who work diligently, out of the celebrity limelight, with the love of Jesus in those foreign lands Webb speaks about, but our “neighbors” are sometimes not far from our front doors and deserve the hands-on agape love of Jesus as well as any in far-off lands.

Richard Greer, Moosehorn, Manitoba, Canada

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Sojourners Magazine July 2009
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