Springtime “City Park Salad”

There are numerous wild edibles that emerge from the cracks and crevices of concrete or are found in the disturbed lawns and along the waterways within populated suburban and urban places. Many of these plants are also abundant in backyard gardens or flower pots and can be “weeded” into a salad bowl. Others are considered aggressive or a non-native nuisance to the landscape that provides minimal if any benefit to the greater ecosystem so botanists encourage us to “eat them to beat them”.

With the right experience using field guide books, trusted YouTube naturalists and walking and talking in-person with wild foragers you can gain the 100% confidence needed for consuming wild edibles. It’s also important to always do so with an environmental and stewardship ethic or there won’t be any for future generations.  In addition to properly identifying the plant and knowing how to prepare them, unfortunately you also have to consider the environment they are growing in. Many suburban and urban areas may have pollutants in the air, water and soil that could have made the harvest contaminated. So forage responsibly. 

If I were to make a springtime “City Park Salad” here are some of the most likely ingredients to be included.

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After your salad, a few twigs simmered from spicebush or sweet birch or a root of sassafras can make for an excellent cup of tea. Or start with some pine needle tea to boost your vitamin C.

To inquire about wild edible walks and formal presentations, email davidethanalexander@gmail.com

David Alexander is author of the Buzz Into Action & Hop Into Action Science Curricula.  He specializes in making nature accessible to people and wildlife.  You can follow him at www.natureintoaction.com

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