Earliest humans were foragers for millions of years. As modern humans colonized land, they transported plants that are still colonizing native ecosystems, degrading and devastating the wild. To look at the bright side, this presents an amazing opportunity for today’s Earth healers to incorporate primitive good deeds into our everyday meals. Foraging is one of the most instinctive acts we can do. It releases the free wild child at our roots. In the chaotic colonized scene, resisters can nourish ourselves and help heal Earth by taking the most intimate direct action – forage and eat the invaders! eattheinvaders.org
Although you can find invasive plant edible food in the woods, it also grows amply on society’s margins – yards, abandoned & public lands, and untended gardens. The true key to wild food foraging is conversation. Even if you’re not a ‘plant person’, when you get the word out in your hood that you’re looking for wild foods, you’ll be amazed what people know.
Have you ever had that moment when you see the same weedy species growing in your neighborhood, for sale in the store or at a farmer’s market? Like dandelions or invasive blackberries?
A good way to start foraging on your own is with an easily identifiable abundant plant, like dandelion. Spring’s young leaves are great in salads, on sandwiches, steamed or added to a stir-fry or soup. Summer’s sweet, dry yellow flowers can be eaten raw, breaded & friend into fritters, or used to make wine or tea. Autumn’s roots can be used as any root vegetable.
As you come to know the plants, you come to know which parts, what seasons, and how to add it to your diet. Many areas have invasive blackberries that ripen around the end of summer. They are great straight off the vine, can be added to smoothies or baked into pies. A starter list of other common weeds are chickweed, dock, lamb’s quarters, sorrel, wintercress, cat’s ear, and nipplewort.
As an inhabitant of this planet, it is your right and duty to know what invasive species lurk in your community, as well as if they’re edible, and how to remove them in a way that doesn’t encourage spread. Check reference sources for your local area, like books, websites, groups & trainings. If you’re interested in learning how to identify plants, the beginner’s bible is Botany In A Day by Thomas J. Elpel. If you want to take it to the next step and start restoring your region’s native ecosystem in a yard to feed not only yourself but local wildlife, check out Bringing Nature Home by Douglas W. Tallamy.
A website which acts as a digital repository for harvest info on backyard and public property fruit trees all over the world is Falling Fruit.
“Falling Fruit is a celebration of the overlooked culinary bounty of our city streets. By quantifying this resource on an interactive map, we hope to facilitate intimate connections between people, food, and the natural organisms growing in our neighborhoods. Not just a free lunch! Foraging in the 21st century is an opportunity for urban exploration, to fight the scourge of stained sidewalks, and to reconnect with the botanical origins of food. https://fallingfruit.org/
Finally and importantly, heed nature ethics & safety rules
*In wild areas, forage thinly from well-established patches. Leave plenty for other animals’ food & shelter.
* Never eat something you cannot positively identify. Beware the poisonous look-alike!
*Avoid plants that have been sprayed or are in heavily polluted areas.
Don’t be shy! Network, ask questions, and research. Once you catch the foraging bug there’s no return!