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An App from the Tree

May 15, 2012


The workshop explores the relationship between technologies – new media, urban screens, mobile and wireless technology and ubiquitous computing – as they are embedded into products, environments and buildings.

The interaction between people, technologies and spaces have created opportunities for designers, both artistic and commercial, to develop a wide range of networks, applications and services. In partnership with one or more non-profit and government organizations, teams work on specific challenges in order to design interactions, interfaces and experiences for networked objects.


This project, a collaboration with Toronto-based non-profit fruit harvesting project Not Far From The Tree, is leveraging mobile technology and mapping platforms to support fruit harvesting. The concept is to help Not Far From the Tree organize harvests and provide participants with a safe environment for networking with people, sharing stories and products, and getting more involved with urban agriculture.


The team focuses on the broad spectrum of what it means to grow food in an urban environment; reaches out to local organizations and interviews participants who are involved in urban agriculture and community gardening. They find that though there are a lot of free resources out there, people don’t know how to access them.

Proposed User Experience

Urban Jar is a virtual platform that connects the Not Far From the Tree organization with pickers and fruit tree owners.

The system is able to map fruit trees in urban sites according to information provided by owners at the time of registering their trees. Participants can search for fruits trees around their area and subscribe to a tree of their interest.

By the time of the harvest, pickers subscribed to a tree receive a notification and can join the group for harvesting. After picking their fruits and processing them into jams or fruit sauces, the system helps users
to customize their own labels and share their products with friends and family. Also, they can add QR codes that lead to Urban Jar blog.

URBAN JAR: Bringing Communities Together Around the Tree



Alison Tisza
Diego Bernardo
Douglas Radecki
Jared Bryll