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Wild Urban Foods

From the GardenNow that sounds like a contradiction does it?

However, in almost every city, town or village I’ve lived in there has been “wild” or non domesticated, (or perhaps “post-domesticated is a better description) fruit trees and food sources that are often overlooked by residents of these communities as they drive to Safeway to pick up a perfectly shaped apple that has been trucked in cold storage from thousands of miles away.

Often, local fruit looks a bit rougher, the shape may be less than perfect and there may be more surface blemishes, but usually the taste is far superior to anything that you could buy at a supermarket.

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Having just recently moved to this part of the world, (The Kootenays, BC, Canada), we are pretty new to the community side of Guerilla Gardening and Urban Foraging around here.  Moving into our house we were lucky enough to have a garden well and truly established with fruit trees and some vegies and herbs already planted. Pulling food out of a garden that you didn’t plant, even one that you now own, feels a bit like Guerilla Gardening at times. However, to me this is a good reminder of the responsibility we have to share seeds, food and knowledge with the community around us.

Grassroots movements like the 100 mile diet and Kootenay Food Strategy Society give publicity to the idea that local food is best, other interesting ideas that re outside our local region are:

Urban Edibles :: a community database of wild foods

Some nice foliage may make Portland, Oregon a ?green? city, but amongst the leaves is a surprising amount of edible food sources. On one side of town there may be a public street lined with fruit trees whose bounty gets swept in to a dumpster year after year, while on the other side some kids may be anxious to make some plum jam. This project aims to make more available the natural food sources throughout the city that go undiscovered each year. Nut trees, berry patches, unsprayed fields of dandelion roots are all welcome. We invite you to share the sources you already know of, search for new ones with your friends, and participate in our official scouting days.

gardenlab / edible estates / prototype guidelines

For maximum impact, influence, contrast and demonstration, we would like the prototype gardens that we establish around the country to conform to few parameters…. the house should be: > on a somewhat lengthy typical residential street lined entirely with uninterrupted groomed front lawns.

  • in some way ‘conventional’, ‘iconic’, ‘american’.
  • not too big and not too small. the front yard should be:
  • very visible from the street, with regular car traffic.
  • relatively flat and currently covered with lawn.
  • few large trees or any major landscaping that couldn’t easily be removed.
  • have good solar access, ideally with a south or south-west orientation.
  • be relatively pesticide free.

And for those of you who are already organic vegans only, here’s the next craze that awaits…

Freegan.info

Freegans are people who employ alternative strategies for living based on limited participation in the conventional economy and minimal consumption of resources. Freegans embrace community, generosity, social concern, freedom, cooperation, and sharing in opposition to a society based on materialism, moral apathy, competition, conformity, and greed.

 We are planning on getting involved in the Kootenay Food Strategy Society as food security was one of the reasons why we decided to live in this region.

Mike Thomas

Mike Thomas P.Eng. ENV SP, is the author of UrbanWorkbench.com and Director of Engineering at the City of Revelstoke in the Interior of British Columbia, Canada. If I post something here that you find helpful as you navigate the world of engineering, planning and building communities, that’s wonderful. But when push comes to shove: This is my personal blog. The views expressed on these pages are mine alone and not those of my employer.