Urban Foraging — Find Out What Your City Tastes Like
To celebrate our fifth birthday we’ll be hosting The Pop-Up City Live, an experimental event for urban innovators in Amsterdam on Tuesday May 21st where we will bring the blog to life on stage. We invited urban herbologist Lynn Shore for a live cooking show with wild veggies and herbs from the sidewalks and parks of Amsterdam!
Spring is late in Amsterdam this year, but we can finally see some greenery around the city. Let’s go outside for some urban foraging! Plants growing on the sidewalks that are either an urban wildlife or belong to someone (be it public or individual) may come out to be a great source for your daily nutrients. Fruits, vegetables, herbs, nuts or even snails are only some of the products that one can harvest and enjoy for free.
Taking your basket and going for sidewalk harvesting tour is slowly becoming a serious urban food trend, which, of course, derives from primitive human practices. City-foraging is part of a larger movement towards sustainable living, urban farming and guerrilla gardening. In case you don’t feel comfortable with identifying the edible species, there are local communities which can help you to learn more about urban foraging and show you how it’s done. There is only one main rule in sidewalk harvesting: to respect the products offered by allowing other people to forage them, and also by asking kindly for permission whenever a plant is owned.
A new twist to this practice is given with the incorporation of virtual tools and applications which allow for sharing of knowledge and information regarding urban foraging. Projects like Boskoi, the Urbana-Champaign Fruit Map and Urban Edible aim to share the knowledge about the urban edible species and their location. Some other initiatives like the Fallen Fruit have developed sidewalk harvesting and the right to food into an artistic project. By using urban foraging of fruits the three artists of the Fallen Fruit manage to negotiate urban space, neighborhood, located citizenship and community in relation to fruit through a creative scope.
Sidewalk harvests can also be used in order to provide for the less privileged citizens. In the city of Athens you can already see people as well as the municipality itself harvesting the olive and bitter-orange trees on the streets. With those crops they produce olive oil and bitter-orange marmalades to offer to other people who were affected by the crisis. (However, rumor has it that the bitter-orange trees were actually harvested and cooked by the local state to deter people from using them as ammunition during public demonstrations.) In a nutshell, sidewalk harvesting is an urban food movement which raises awareness about nature, saves money, reduces waste and builds community.
On Tuesday May 21st De Brakke Grond will set the stage for The Pop-Up City Live, a colorful and inspiring night for urban innovators. We have invited Urban Herbology-founder Lynn Shore for a live cooking show that will create delicacies out of products harvested on the sidewalks and in the parks of Amsterdam. It’s your chance to find out what Amsterdam tastes like!