Wild and Feral Foods can Improve Nutrition, Expand Diets, Excite Palates, Save Water, Reduce Waste, Increase Food Security, Increase Farm Biodiversity, and Increase Farm Revenue
We work on food equity, sustainability, nutrition, and gastronomy, increasing the supply of fresh, affordable, nutritious, drought-resistant, low-carbon-impact greens, especially in urban food deserts. We map the availability and seasonal abundance of wild and feral edible plants. We test urban soils for toxicity and plants for nutrition and environmental toxicity. We promote urban foraging through education and outreach, including teaching plant identification and publishing field guides. We work with community and commercial farms, produce suppliers, markets, and restaurants to create a supply chain and a market for wild and feral edible plants, reduce food waste, improve farm yields and profits, reduce environmental toxins, improve nutrition, and provide interesting, exotic new ingredients for chefs.
We advocate public policy that increases the amount of free, fresh nutritious foods in cities, by stopping the use of herbicides on public lands and allowing foraging of invasive species on public lands; and by promoting the design of parks and public spaces that provide food and habitat for wildlife.
We are studying three food deserts, in Richmond, Berkeley, and West Oakland. The regions are as follows (and are outlined in yellow on the iNaturalist project site):
Berkeley: area bounded by MLK, California, Dwight, Carleton
Oakland: area bounded by 14th, 17th, Peralta, Wood
Richmond: area bounded by Carlson, Potrero, S 47th, S 43rd
We received seed funds from the Berkeley Food Institute in 2014 and 2015.