Wild Foodies of Philly
In search of the food beneath our feet!
WELCOME! COMMENTS, CAUTIONS, & TIPS!
“Re-wilding” is about learning to live with nature, again.
Our wild world contains fantastic natural resources for food, fiber, medicine and crafts that have been cherished by many cultures for thousands of years. It is our aim to educate ourselves and others about the uses of wild plants, both native and non-native, in our region. During this process, it is important to keep an open mind because there are always new things to learn. It is also a good habit to refer to multiple sources of information and to keep a notebook. No one source contains all the information on wild edibles, and some information can be incorrect. Certain plants have been called 'poisonous' when only specific parts are, or they need special preparation in order to become edible, or they are for medicinal use only. Rather than rely solely on foraging, we also encourage you to grow wild plants yourself so they can be close at hand. Many wild edibles can grow anywhere - in yards, planters, and pots! So, welcome to our community and enjoy learning about our WILD WORLD OF PLANTS!
These tours are “walking-lectures”, so it’s necessary to establish some rules so that the tour is a success for all participants.
Wild Foodies tours are "educational only" - no foraging, no tasting for safety and liability reasons. Plus, many parks don't allow foraging of any kind, anyway.
Tour guides have various levels of knowledge and we do not certify anyone. It is up to everyone to do their own "due diligence" before eating a wild edible.
Attendees must be 16+ and no dogs unless otherwise invited by the tour host. (We do sometimes host private tours, so contact us if you would like to schedule one.)
If you signup, please show-up, otherwise it isn't fair to those on the waitlist.
Please be on time and keep up with the tour guide, as lagging behind slows down the entire tour.
When the tour guide is talking, please no talking or side conversations, as it can be very distracting.
Attendees must be able to handle rocky paths and steep, sometimes slippery slopes.
Please don't use bug 'spray' (natural or not) as it can affect those around you, but feel free to apply it directly to your skin or clothes.
There is a lot of information on WildFoodies.org, so don't worry about taking notes.
WHY WILD FOODS?
Respect - All wild plants have a 'purpose' in the ecosystem and it is our job to understand what it is.
Due your own "due diligence" - Don't trust just once source for plant information.
Keep an Open Mind - We're constantly learning new things about our wild world, which is always evolving anyway.
Consideration - The 1/3 Rule is common practice by most foragers to refrain from harvesting more than 1/3 of any one plant or patch. Make an effort to learn about what plants are endangered and do your part to restore stands of threatened or endangered plants. United Plant Savers does important work on these issues: https://unitedplantsavers.org
Common Names vs Latin - As we work to identify and share knowledge about wild foods, using Latin names can really confuse people and create a barrier to learning. That said, we recognize that plants can be called by several names, so use Latin if there is confusion.
Public Parks & Private Lands - It is illegal to forage on property that is not your own. We use public parks to learn to identify wild edibles. Plus, many parks still use toxic chemicals, which we work to put a stop to. The best thing to do is to obtain or purchase wild edible plants for your own yard or container garden. Also, you can volunteer in many parks' weed removal programs, which can be a great opportunity to forage for wild edibles.
"KNOW AND GO SLOW!" GENERAL TIPS ON FORAGING, PRESERVATION, PREPARATION, ETC:
CHILDREN - Take particular care with young children and teach them not to consume any plant without a knowledgeable adult present, as children are far less likely to understand which plants or plant parts may be toxic.
CONTAMINATED AREAS - Avoid certain areas, such as next to roads, train tracks, former industrial areas, vacant lots, etc.. Lead contamination from cars and house paint (used in houses built prior to 1970) can make plants taste sweeter. If you want to grow plants for food, have the soil tested. Visit: http://www.wildfoodies.org/MISC.htm. If soil is contaminated, there are plants that can remediate the soil over time. Otherwise, purchase organic soil with as few additives as possible.
NATURAL LATEX - If a plant (dandelions, milkweed, wild lettuce, sow thistle, etc.) leeches a milky substance, latex, then take additional precautions because some people are highly allergic to latex and this can result in anaphylactic shock.
FINE STINGING HAIRS – Wear gloves for plants that have fine stinging hairs, such as stinging nettle, wood nettle, and prickly pear.
OXALIC ACID - Too much oxalic acid, such as in cultivated spinach, is said to interfere with the processing of calcium in the body and can contribute to kidney stones for those that are prone. However, the U.S. National Institutes of Health have determined that the negative effects of oxalic acid are generally of little or no nutritional consequence in persons who eat a variety of foods.
GASSY ROOTS - Any root plant that contains inulin (Jerusalem artichoke/sunchoke, sunflower, burdock root, dandelion root, chicory root, and thistle root) can give you flatulence. Therefore, it is strongly advised to soak the roots for 24 hours, replacing the water after the first 12 hours.
MOLD - Avoid plants whose green parts have turned color -- dark or white, particularly if conditions have turned very humid or wet.
POISONOUS V INEDIBLE PLANTS - There is a difference between inedible and poisonous. Inedible usually means that a food or plant is too foul tasting to be used for food, although some supposedly inedible berries, are actually edible if used minimally or with other ingredients. Poisonous means that the plant could make a person ill, sometimes fatally. Many poisonous plants still have edible parts, or some of the poisonous parts can be used medicinally. Learn about poisonous plants on the following page or at http://www.wildfoodies.org/PoisonousPlants.docx
These Comments, Cautions, and Tips are to assist you in learning about our Wild World of Plants. Forage On, With Care!