Forget Farm To Fork – Urban Foraging: The Ultimate in Local Eating

Many of us have grown accustomed to making a list of foods we want, then heading to the grocery store to buy them. Others have embraced the trend of community-supported agriculture by signing up for shares or participating in community gardens. And then there are the daring folks who march out into urban environments to scope out their next meal.

People who are unfamiliar with the practice of urban foraging may view it as the work of a few unconventional individuals, but in reality, people have been foraging since the beginning of civilization. Today, the practice is enjoying a worldwide resurgence. Even the restaurant scene has gotten in on the action, as more and more chefs incorporate foraged foods into their menus to produce unique and sustainable fare.1

Foraging may also aid national efforts to reduce hunger. University of California, Berkeley, researchers are experimenting with a program that maps edible plants in low-income neighborhoods to empower local residents to find food near their homes.2 Many foragers also donate some or all of their finds to local food pantries.

If you want to know more kitchen tips, you better visit this site.

The basic concept behind urban foraging is simple: search for and gather fresh food in urban spaces.3 Practitioners embrace foraging as a way to reconnect with the natural world, obtain free food, reduce their eco-footprint, diversify their diets, and learn to look at urban spaces in new ways. Not to be confused with dumpster diving, foraging focuses on obtaining fresh food straight from the source – whether from trees, bushes, edible weeds, or other plants found in parks, abandoned lots, and local neighborhoods.4

Ever felt curious about seeking out your own food in your local environment but held back because you didn’t know where to start? Consider this your cheat sheet for entering the wild world of urban foraging.

Know What’s Safe to Eat

This point really can’t be stressed enough. Not all plants are safe for human consumption, and eating the wrong plant (or the wrong part of an otherwise-safe plant) can result in illness or even death.5That’s why it’s critical to research safe plants in your area and learn how to effectively identify them and their parts. It’s particularly helpful to shadow an experienced forager the first several times you head out so you can learn from their know-how. Regardless of whether you forage solo or with a friend, never eat a plant unless you can identify it with absolute certainty.

A Guide to Urban Foraging: Plants to Look For

While you research the plants native to your area, it can be helpful to familiarize yourself with their Latin names. Common names aren’t consistent across the board, and there are even instances where a plant shares a common name with a poisonous plant. Write down the Latin names of the plants you’re searching for on a particular day, and then bring along a field guide for proper identification.6

Scout Different Locations

A Guide to Urban Foraging: Where to Look

Before picking anything, do some research to figure out where foraging is and is not allowed in your area. In particular, check with local government for any rules regarding foraging on public land.7 If you have your eye on plants that reside on private property, always ask permission before foraging. (If nobody’s home, consider leaving a note with your contact information.8 ) Take note of what grows where and when; foraging is a seasonal enterprise.9 If you encounter a plant that’s past its prime, make a note to return to that same spot earlier next year.

Modern foragers can also use the Internet to identify prime foraging spots. Head to fallingfruit.org, which allows foragers from across the globe to share the locations of found fruits, vegetables, herbs, and nuts, to the tune of more than 800,000 entries from 50 countries.10 The searchable map is free to use online and the founders have also created an app for both Android and Apple.

Check out more fitness stuff here

No matter how you identify possible foraging locations, it’s important to investigate whether the area has been sprayed with herbicides or pesticides, or is located near an industrial area. Avoid plants from these areas, because they’re likely to be contaminated with chemicals that aren’t good for you. In general, try to avoid plants growing near busy roads or train tracks, or in soil that is contaminated with lead (such as at the site of a demolished house). It’s also best to steer clear of auto shops, gas stations, and factories.11 In contrast, empty lots or wooded areas can often be great sources for forage-friendly foods.12

Be Prepared

If you’re setting out to forage, it’s helpful to wear sturdy shoes and bring along some gardening gloves, a spade, a field guide to local plants, and a couple of reusable bags to transport your loot.13 Come prepared with knowledge about the best way to harvest plants so they’ll stay fresh until you get home.14

Respect Some Basic Rules

Part of reconnecting with the land includes developing an appreciation for all the ways nature sustains us – and it’s important to demonstrate that appreciation by treating the earth with respect. Keep the following rules in mind wherever and whenever you forage.

  • If you come across a small patch of a plant species, don’t pick all of the plants. Instead, leave several behind so the species can continue to grow in that location.15
  • Do not to take more than you can use: One of the goals of foraging is to eliminate, not contribute to, food waste.16 On a similar note, don’t harvest the whole plant if you’re only going to use a specific part, such as the leaves.
  • No matter what, don’t harvest or dig up the roots of a threatened species.17 Feel free to remove invasive species from an area, as they’re not doing the local ecosystem any good.

Use Common Sense When it Comes to Food Safety

A Guide to Urban Foraging: How to Forage for Food

If you’re wondering about the safety of foraged foods from urban areas, take solace in this: One study conducted in Boston found that foraged foods were no more dangerous to eat than conventional produce. And in some cases, they actually contained more micronutrients.18

Of course, this is just one study from one city. But common sense can help protect you from major food safety hazards. Know how to identify safe plants, scout locations according to the guidelines above, avoid plants that appear to be unhealthy, and thoroughly rinse your harvest before consuming. By practicing these basic tenets and trusting your gut, you’ll maximize your chances of foraging in a healthy way.19

Even as you digest all the serious pointers outlined above, keep in mind that foraging is ultimately meant to be exciting and fun. (Consider it the adult version of a scavenger hunt.) So get out there with your field guide and marvel at all the food nature provides – even in the concrete jungle.


Source: Fix.com Blog

Sources:

  1. http://experience.usatoday.com/food-and-wine/story/news-festivals-events/food/2014/01/27/foraging-chefs-dishes-trend/4817825/
  2. http://grist.org/food/can-urban-foraging-actually-feed-poor-people/
  3. https://canberraurbanforaging.wordpress.com/about/
  4. http://www.urbanfarmonline.com/sustainable-living/eat-local/5-rules-for-urban-food-foraging.aspx
  5. http://www.urbanfarmonline.com/sustainable-living/eat-local/5-rules-for-urban-food-foraging.aspx
  6. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/06/02/foraging-tips-dos-and-donts_n_3367633.html
  7. http://www.urbanfarmonline.com/sustainable-living/eat-local/foraging-tips.aspx
  8. http://www.urbanfarmonline.com/sustainable-living/eat-local/5-rules-for-urban-food-foraging.aspx
  9. http://kwgn.com/2015/09/17/foraging-app-created-by-boulder-men-helps-you-find-all-the-free-food-around-you-2/
  10. http://www.shareable.net/blog/how-to-be-an-urban-fruit-forager
  11. http://www.chicagomag.com/Chicago-Magazine/August-2011/Urban-Foraging-Tips-How-to-Find-Your-Dinner-in-Chicagos-Wild/
  12. http://www.npr.org/2011/04/18/135412640/foraging-the-weeds-for-wild-healthy-greens
  13. http://www.chicagomag.com/Chicago-Magazine/August-2011/Urban-Foraging-Tips-How-to-Find-Your-Dinner-in-Chicagos-Wild/
  14. http://www.urbanfarmonline.com/sustainable-living/eat-local/foraging-tips.aspx
  15. http://netnebraska.org/article/news/nettles-milkweed-and-dandelion-its-whats-dinner-some-urban-nebraskans
  16. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/06/02/foraging-tips-dos-and-donts_n_3367633.html
  17. http://www.urbanfarmonline.com/sustainable-living/eat-local/5-rules-for-urban-food-foraging.aspx
  18. http://www.mnn.com/food/healthy-eating/blogs/urban-foraged-food-found-safe-eat-boston
  19. http://www.npr.org/2011/04/18/135412640/foraging-the-weeds-for-wild-healthy-greens


Self-Watering Seed Starter – DIY

DIY Gardening Tip

Reuse old bottles to make this clever seed starter! A great way to start off your seeds now and be ready to plant soon.


How To Build Your Own Solar Thermal Panel From Recycled Trash

The guys at the Sietch have a great little idea here, making their own solar thermal collector with spare parts and trash readily available in any scrap yard  worldwide. This would be good if the SHTF and we had to live off the grid. Enjoy. Let us know if you build your own.

Materials needed:

Water
2 buckets
Drill (with both drill bits and screw bits)
Some scissors
A saw (a simple hand saw will do)
Some wood
A pane of glass.
The back of a small refrigerator.
12 feet of air pump hose used in fish tanks
Backing material (we used an old door mat)
A box of wood screws
Aluminum Foil
Role of duct tape
Angle Cutter (or hack saw)
Time:This project took about 3 hours of constructions time. It took a couple weeks to find all the parts.

Now onto the project. The first thing we did was collect all of the parts.

Our local dump has a coolant removal program that has refrigerators and dehumidifiers that they remove old freon from. With this in mind I found the perfect heat collector. The back of a fridge is basically a heat dispersal system, with a slight modification is can be used to collect large amounts of heat.

Make sure that the freon, or other coolant has been removed, and cut the grill off at the base, near the large coolant holder.

There was an old couch that had been run over by one of the large dump plows, the inside wood was the perfect size for the frame.

I found a pane of glass and an old rubber door mat that made the perfect backing and front.

The glass was a real find, and may be the only part of the panel that may need to be purchased. Make sure your glass is big enough to fit over your collector and have enough room to attach it to the frame.

The door mat was HUGE, so I had to cut it in half. Funny thing seems there was a lot of nasty black goo, and a metal sheet in the middle. Who knew. Remove the metal plate (or cut it in half as well) and leave the goo.

Once The backing was cut to size, it was time to start building the frame.

As you can see I sort of built the frame around the collector, leaving enough backing to hold it all together.

The frame is held on by building a similar frame on the back and driving large wood screws through the front frame, the backing and into the back frame.

I added some foil to the backing. The reason for this is that counter to what you would think, you do not want the backing to warm up. You only want the collector to absorb heat (it was so nice of the fridge company to paint it black for us). The foil will take any sun that was not absorbed by the collector on the first pass and bounce it back over the collector for another try at absorption. The glass cover will keep all the heat inside the panel for further absorption.

Light can pass through glass, but heat can not.

Notice how duct tape was used on the inside to seal all cracks, you could use caulk but I didn’t have any so I used the cheapest option. It worked well, and held the foil in place.

Next we cut some notches for the entry and return ports to the collector.

Note again the use of duct tape to seal cracks.

I got some air pump hose from the local fish store and attached them to the end of the entry and return ports.

The duct tape was applied to make sure it was a tight fit, it was later removed as it was not needed.

Next we attached the collector to the backing, using the mounting brackets that came on the fridge and some duct tape. If you wanted you could use some screws and wood, but I found the tape and the natural tension of the construction to be enough to hold it in place.

Lastly we attach the glass to the top. This serves to trap all the infrared radiation from the sun inside our panel where our collector will absorb it. Again light can pass through glass, but heat can not.

As you can see simple duct tape is enough to hold it on. I would recommend using some sort of mounting bracket however as after a couple days in the sun the tape started to droop allowing the glass to slide off. A few screws would solve this, but I am cheap so I just put new tape on.

Set your panel up at an angle so that it catches the most sun.

Here is the gross part, put one end of the hose into your bucket of cold water, and make sure it is at the bottom of the bucket, next grab the return hose and start sucking. That’s right, unfortunately you have to prime the panel by getting some water into it. This can be done without getting water in your mouth, but inevitably I sucked just a little too hard and ended up with a mouth full of nasty water. I would recommend having a friend do this part. 🙂

Set your cold water bucket (source) up higher than your warm water bucket (return) and the whole thing will gravity siphon. Due to the design of this collector (both ports return to the same location on the panel) it will not thermo siphon. For that to happen I would need to cut the long return pipe and have it exit at the top of the panel.

A word of warning, this panel works VERY WELL. We tested it on a very sunny day and within seconds the water coming out of the panel was hot enough TO SCALD. I burned my fingers. This very hot water is only formed when the water inside the panel is allowed to sit for about a minute without moving. If the water is moving (do to the gravity siphon) the water exiting the return pipe is about 110 degrees, and while hot, will not burn you.

The water does not flow through the panel very fast (as the pipes are very small) but that is sort of a good thing as it allows the water to heat up a lot on its journey through the collector. It does take a while to heat up a 5 gallon bucket of water, I ended up building an insulated return bucket that was all black and sealed on the top except for the port where the water tube enters. This kept the returned hot water hot long enough to be of use.

I let this guy run for a couple of hours one hot sunny day and heated up a five gallon bucket of cold water (measured at 70 degrees F) to over 110 degrees F. The temp that day was about 76 degrees F. If the water is allowed to sit in the panel for several minutes and then forced out (by blowing in one of the hoses) the water was measure at 170 degrees F. All in all we are much happier with the performance (and cost) of this panel. It performs much better than the previous one.

Our next modifications to this design will be to alter the return port so that it will thermo siphon, in this way the return hose can be fed into the source bucket and the water will continually circulate in the panel getting hotter and hotter. We have also talked about adding mirrors to the panel to concentrate more heat. Our goal is to boil water. This entire project cost less than five dollars, as I already had the screws, and the duct tape. The only thing I purchased was the air hose, which cost $3.76.

Enjoy the hot water.

 

[source]

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...