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Guerilla Grafters

The Guerilla Grafters, a loose-knit band of undercover orchardists, blend gardening and urban activism to spark debate about the use of public space.

“When you walk down the street and see a tree with 10 cherries on it — there’s a possibility of delight,”

said Grafter Ian Pollock, 46, a digital arts professor who likens the project to street theater. “I’m not convinced that large-scale food production will come out of this, but the fruits of this conversation can transform the city.”

Of the more than 160 people now on the Grafters’ e-mail list, about 35 to 50 are active participants, Hui said. Their Facebook page has nearly 300 “Likes,” and they have received inquiries about grafting from across the Bay Area and as far away as Southern California and Colorado. A Guerrilla Grafting Instruction Manual is available in PDF form and Hui said a steward’s manual is in the works.

“The intention of doing guerrilla grafting is not so much for the sake of challenging authority, but to set an example — a working example — to counter the arguments,” said Hui, a Beijing-born urban gardener and gray-water activist with a computer science degree. “If we have a prototype, we can have a legitimate rational discussion on the issue.”

But challenge authority it does.

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