The Art of Foraging

How can you increase your food security, help the environment and live a healthier life for free? Reclaim Foraging! Its like food just grows on trees! And in the San Francisco Bay Area it is insane how much of this food falls from the trees uneaten and unappreciated. Lemons, guavas, strawberry tree fruit, loquats, acorns, olives and plums litter sidewalks and parks. Chickweed, purslane and lambsquarters ubiquitously offer their succulent bodies for our dinner plates. Meanwhile folks are paying high prices in yuppie grocery stores for the same foods that have been shipped from far away. There is a toll on the environment from industrial agriculture, shipping and packaging. Wake up, learn the food around you, participate in your own sustenance and thrive.

When we forage, we eat what is offered to us, we participate in maintaining an ecological balance by eating what is in abundance. We learn the lay of the land and the seasonal changes. We begin to learn and follow the hoops of the ripening webs of life around us. We partake of food that is arguably more nutritionally rich than that grown in the sterile soil of mono–cropped and sprayed industrial farms.

Yes, harvesting and preparing our own food takes time and effort. But it is very tangible work and gathering is old in our bones; we were gatherers much longer than we have been farmers. Isn’t it better to gather your own food than to work a mindless job and pay someone else to provide it? And as we all begin to appreciate the possibilities of producing a substantial portion of our city food locally, we will value useful and edible plants and replace un–useful public and private landscaping with our newly found bounty.

You will expand your palate, impress strangers and be a hit at the potluck. How ’bout some cattail fritters? Chickweed salad? Roasted dandelion root tea? Rosehips and manzanita cider, nettle lasagna, acorn cookies, seaweed cheese puffs? Throw in some snails and roadkill and you have a feast. Bon appetite.