A small but growing number of urban foragers across the USA are harvesting weeds and plants from city streets and parks to use in meals and medicine.
As reported by Lisa Schumaker for Reuters Life!, some of these gatherers are survivalists, some are environmentalists, and some are foodies looking for new flavors to try.
Taking a Walk on The Wild Side
Schumaker focuses on two leaders of the movement, Nance Klehm of Chicago and Steve Brill of New York, who regularly lead 20 to 50 people on group forages through their respective cities. Brill has written a book on edible plants and writes about foraging on his web site wildmanstevebrill.com. He tells Schumaker that people who join his forays into Central Park are â€˜freegans, vegans, foodies, environmentalistsâ€”definitely more middle class than working class,â€™ he says.
Klehm also teaches folks how to compost food and cooks with solar ovens. She admits there are risks to foraging, noting that some plants are mild laxatives, while others are psychotropic or poisonous. Brill recommends avoiding plants that are within 50 feet of major roads because that is where heavy metals can accumulate in the soil.
The next time you seem a group of people walking down the street with paper bags and pruning shears, who knows, they may be putting together a salad for that night’s dinner.
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