Friday, March 20, 2009

Urban Foraging

This recent story in SF Weekly is about Iso Rabins. He forages wild foods in the city. Iso is even launching a subscriber based "Community Supported Forage" box. Much of his foraging is fungal, but he also gathers such common annuals as stinging nettle and miner's lettuce.

It is interesting to note how fringe this ideas is presented in the pages of the weekly. It must say something that this story sounds so Quixotic. It is probably indicative of the loss of common knowledge about the bounty at our feet.

I must confessed that I even feel a little uneasy ingesting something that is not some how mediated for me by a grower or sanctioned by processing by General Mills (and this is only indicative of my own conformity with the agro-industrial complex).
The basic questions posed by the author is food for thought: how did foraging, one of the most basic of human endeavors, become so foreign.

Even before reading this article I had resolved to learn about some common local edibles that I could begin to gather and bring to our table. To that end I cracked open a copy of Edible and Useful Plants of California, by Charlotte Bringle Clarke that had been on my bookshelf for a while. It has been recently reprinted by UC Press. The book is organized by habitat and includes recipes and medicinal use information.

Something I learned that I may soon get to apply is that small branches of California bay can be placed in a chicken coop to keep fleas away. I also want to try making tea from dried blackberry leaves (I'll post it when I do).

Read about Iso Rabins at SF Weekly. His website is ForageSF

Thanks Manuelito for sending me this link.

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