The past year I’ve come across so many emergent, and promising food movements, that I decided to publish a series. This second post introduces you to the world of eating from the forest. Or local park. Or your neighbor’s lawn.
Although one would not expect the Dutch forests to contain edible food, many immigrants find their way to our forests – Moroccan mothers forage ground-elder, whereas the Polish look for mushrooms and the Chinese visit the Dutch coasts to fish.
In The Netherlands this group of foragers adheres to the adagio “harvest without sowing” (oogsten zonder zaaien). The members are well-organized in sharing what and what not to pick, as well as the locations of rich forests and green fields. The “Food Forage Compass” (Wildplukwijzer) is an online Google Map that shows fruitful locations for food foraging in The Netherlands.
A food blogger who went food foraging in het Vliegenbos in the North of Amsterdam – calling himself a vinex-hunter, because of his urban environment – writes that people frowned upon him, but that his foraged wild chive and ramson made him “happy as a child.” Food foraging is time-intensive, and there is no sufficient food available to forage for a larger public than the current group of hobbyists, without harming forest ecosystems. In New York, park authorities are already protesting against foraging, because “public lands are not a communal pantry.” But, you might be able to draw a close with that faraway uncle living on the countryside, or just lend some fertile land through Landshare.
Where do you think you’d find edibles in your neighborhood?