Urban Foraging

Foraging for food in cities and urban areas is a fun, tasty, prevents waste and can be done safely

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Is it okay to forage in public parks?

Most park departments officially discourage foraging, but unofficially don’t mind responsible foraging 1 in 10 blackberries

Plants growing in parks tend to have less contamination then plants growing elsewhere in cities

Almost all cities never use pesticides, fungicides or herbicides in parks

Can I forage in community gardens?

Do not start foraging in community gardens without permission

Community gardens have been planted and are being cared for by a group of community members, they are often happy to share their bounty, but most of the time they want to pick the fruit of their labor

Additional resources

Community mapping tool for urban foraging: fallingfuit.org 

Keys to city foraging

Know what you are picking, you should have 100 percent certainty of what you are picking many berries are blue, make sure you’re picking blueberries, not blue berries

Wash what you pick! Pollution carried on the air can contaminate city fruits and vegetables

Whenever possible ask before taking, do not trespass or get arrested

Take 10 percent at most, even in the city it’s important to leave enough for birds, bugs and to ensure enough seed stock

Don’t pull up plants unless you are using their roots, try to just pick fruits, berries, nuts and leaves

Start by eating small amounts of what you forage to make sure it agrees with you

Are foraged city plants toxic from urban pollution?

Avoid harvesting toxic plants by paying close attention to where the plants are growing.

If there is any uncertainty about the safety of foraged food do not give it to kids

Avoid plants growing in recently vacant lots, right along the road under, on, or alongside train lines as these are areas where toxins are often found

Forgeable foods

Blueberries

Apples

Mulberries

Blackberries

Peaches

Wild ginseng

Spring onions

Dandelion greens

Chickweed

Clover

Lambs quarters

Yucca

Prickly pear

Mushrooms

Acorns

Raspberries

Walnuts

Watercress

AND MORE!