March 2, 2011

Finding Food + A New Balance in the City

A growing number of foodies are seeking out new hidden spots in the city that have nothing to do with the café or restaurant scene. From gathering edible greens in a park to digging for clams along the coast, urban foragers harvest a surprisingly diverse range of fresh (and extremely local) foods in cities across North America.

In New York City, naturalist and “Wildman” Steve Brill leads foraging groups through several public sites in the area: including Central Park, and Prospect Park. His tours span from March to December (at a suggested donation of $15 for adults). Finds of course vary by season, and include a huge range of plants – many of which you may not have heard of. More familiar species include: apples, apricots, peaches, strawberries, cherries, plantains, wild carrots, garlic, walnuts, and a variety of mushrooms.

Oyster Mushroom on a New York City park tree. Photo by Ava Chin author and blogger.

But a big part of the adventure is in discovering new edible foods that grow in our local urban ecosystems – in learning the medicinal value of curly dock, or that you can in fact