'Mundraub' Website Helps People Find Free Fruit In Germany During a canoeing trip, two Germans came up with the idea for the website "Mundraub" when fruit literally started falling into their boat. The interactive site shows the location of unowned trees and abandoned areas in Germany where people can harvest wild garlic, pick apples and pears, or find nuts and berries.
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'Mundraub' Website Helps People Find Free Fruit In Germany

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'Mundraub' Website Helps People Find Free Fruit In Germany

'Mundraub' Website Helps People Find Free Fruit In Germany

'Mundraub' Website Helps People Find Free Fruit In Germany

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  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/137364488/137364521" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">

Mundraub.org is an interactive website that shows the locations of unowned trees in Germany. Courtesy of Mundraub.org hide caption

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Courtesy of Mundraub.org

Mundraub.org is an interactive website that shows the locations of unowned trees in Germany.

Courtesy of Mundraub.org

During a canoeing trip, two Germans came up with the idea for a website while fruit was literally falling into their boat.

Daniel Nielsen from Denmark makes up the international part of the small Berlin-based team that created "Mundraub.org."

"They found a lot of apples and pears that was unused and thought it could be a good idea to make a website where they could map and show where these trees were," Nielsen says.

"Mundraub" directly translated means "mouth robbing." The closest English translation is "scrumping," a British term for stealing fruit from someone else's tree.

According to Nielsen, the word "Mundraub" refers to an old military law.

"That you could not take these fruits by the public roads because they were meant for the soldiers. This law was canceled in 1975. Most municipals allow you to take these. It's a gray area. It's not a clear statement where you can say it's legal or illegal."

"Free Fruit for Free Citizens" is the motto of Mundraub.org. The interactive website shows the location of unowned trees and abandoned areas in Germany where people can harvest wild garlic, pick apples and pears, or find nuts and berries. People can also add the location of "free" trees to the site.

Nielsen says they try to restrict the trees on their page to only publicly owned trees.

"But we've had a lot of positive response from people who gave access to their private gardens because they have too much fruits. Where they ask people just to give them a call before they come."

What started as a spontaneous idea a couple of years ago took off in 2010.

"Last year, when the apple season started, then the media picked up on it. There was this big controversial thing with Google street view, which gave us a lot of attention because we were using Goggle's mapping tools in a positive way, and so we were pulled out as the positive story in many of these campaigns on TV.

On Mundraub.org, Berliners can find the locations to pick free apples, pears, or cherries in the middle of the city. Users can also add the location of "free" trees to the site. Courtesy of Mundraub.org hide caption

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Courtesy of Mundraub.org

Mundraub.org is adding new locations every day and has expanded to include Austria, Switzerland, the Czech Republic and Denmark. The overall feedback is positive, but Nielsen says some Germans still have a problem with the free fruit concept.

"We had a lot of response from people last year that what we were doing is trying to get people to do crime, which we had to prove that we were not. We even got some very nice feedback from the various municipals in Friedrichshain and Prenzlauer Berg. The local authorities have been out and said, 'It's OK. You can go ahead and eat these fruits. We rather have you eat them than we have to pick them up from the ground.'"

Daniel Nielsen says Mundraub users come from all walks of life and span every age group - from retirees to urban families. Currently, the programmer is building a new version of the site in order to meet the rising demand and to make it faster and more mobile.

Coming in July, Nielsen says you will be able to load it up on your iPhone, or iPad, or Android.

"So you can take Mundraub with you out in the nature where you actually need it."

So far, the makers of Mundraub.org have financed the website themselves. They've decided against advertisement but also want to keep the service free. In the future, they are planning to set up a non-profit to raise money for their cause.