Foraging in the City (Portland Oregon)

One woman tried living exclusively off of foraged weeds in the city. Here is the website. http://www.energybull...

Starts off
Starting Sunday, May 24, I'll spend a week eating wild food that I forage from sidewalks, parks, wilderness areas and yards in the city of Portland, Oregon. There will be no dumpster diving or mooching off gardens; I will be eating wild edibles only. I will be blogging about my experience here at, talking about what I eat, how I prepare it and how I feel. As a city girl accustomed to the comforts of restaurants and supermarket food, I am excited to experience a new kind of luxury: interacting with the Earth the way I was meant to.

Another entry:
Breakfast this morning was tea made from pine needles, ground ivy, pineapple weed and wild rose blossoms. I snacked on some purslane leaves I found growing on my street (recommended by a reader named Jim from Washington state), which had a bland but not unpleasant flavor. Thumbnail: Cleavers are named for their habit of hooking on to anything they touch. When brewed in a tea, they act medicinally as a lymphatic tonic. Lunch was broth made from stinging nettles. For dinner, I boiled a tea made of blackberry buds, pine needles, rose petals, ground ivy and a whole lot of cleavers. I also had more stinging nettles broth and baked burdock roots.

The writer concludes her experiment with:

If I were to do this project over, knowing what I know now, I would either pick a different time of year or have stored food from other seasons and focused on scavenging roadkill, fishing, and maybe hunting squirrels. I might still eat some of the same wild foods I ate this time -- especially the ones I included in those wonderful teas -- but they would be in combination with the other ones. I would also have scouted out the area in advance so I knew where everything would be. I made the mistake this time of thinking that the wild foods I had eaten in the weeks leading up to the survival challenge would still be available. I didn't realize that food you can find in the second week of May is no longer an option in the fourth.

I would love to try doing this again in the late summer or early fall when the best tasting fruits, berries and nuts and salmon and mushrooms are abundant in Oregon. I would do it with a tribe of friends and I would sleep outdoors in the wilderness instead of in the city. That would make it much more fun and much more doable -- the benefits of community, of having other knowledgeable people working together to help each other, cannot be understated. While one person might spend four hours looking for and gathering burdock root, for instance, three others can use that same time to go out and get three other kinds of foods in three other places. Together we can do so much more than one person can accomplish alone. The opportunity to share our knowledge and barter or share goods are also huge benefits. Maybe you didn't save enough acorns last fall, but your neighbor has more than she needs. Maybe you don't know where to go to catch bass, but your friend does. When it comes to naturalist skills, there is an overwhelming amount of information to grasp. As my botanist friend Jordan Fink put it, "Some of us have been doing this stuff for 10 years, but we're all beginners. Unless you were raised with ecosystems and plant knowledge, ecology is always going to be a second language. I might be fluent, but I'm always going to have an accent. I'm not going to know the deep patterns." That's good news, too -- it means you don't have to know everything to survive. You just need a community of people who are all in it together.

Table of Contents

Page title Most recent update Last edited by
5 nutrient dense and 42 edible flowers - links April 8, 2012 6:08 PM Cindy M.
More links, videos, and books May 20, 2011 4:43 PM Cindy M.
Eatable flowers July 8, 2009 10:25 AM Cindy M.
useful books, websites, and excerpts October 18, 2010 7:36 AM Cindy M.
Plant behavior June 11, 2009 5:38 PM Cindy M.
Southern dining menu before beans and corn June 7, 2009 4:54 PM Cindy M.
Foraging in the City (Portland Oregon) June 7, 2009 4:47 PM Cindy M.
About EDIBLE WEED WALKS and PLANT CLASSES April 22, 2010 5:34 AM Cindy M.

People in this
Meetup are also in:

Sign up

Meetup members, Log in

By clicking "Sign up" or "Sign up using Facebook", you confirm that you accept our Terms of Service & Privacy Policy