Imagine you are walking in a downtown park, you are having so much fun you forget to eat lunch and your stomach rumbles with hunger, so you reach up and pick an apple off a tree.
I cannot think of any place where you can do this outside of a farm, your backyard or the wilderness. Our cities invest in urban green spaces that are barren, when we could instead be planting raspberry bushes, strawberry patches, and apple trees. We have to spend the effort watering these plants every year anyways, why not make our urban plants give something in return. These plants would still provide the visual appeal due to their annual blossoms.
There are many options for our cities with fruit bearing urban parks. The city could harvest the fruit themselves and make a tidy profit at the local farmers market. Or the city could simply allow its residents free pickings. If you needed some apples for a pie, help yourself. If you wanted some berries for a jam, help yourself.
The fact is that we have people in our cities that are homeless and starving, and what do we do we plant ornamental crab apple trees. Planting fruit laden parks could provide our disadvantaged with a free source of social services.
Just think of the sort of charm that the annual community apple picking would lend itself. We would have a direct connection between people and their food. In a time when the world is consuming too much and prices for everything is rising, we should consider swapping new trees with the fruit bearing variety in order to further secure our local food source and sustainability.