Leda Meredith shows that foraging is another healthy function of city parks.Photo: Kethevane GorjestaniCross-posted from OnEarth.
Fans of dandelion greens, mushrooms, and other wild edibles in New York City, take heed. After years of unofficially tolerating foraging in parks, city park rangers are now cracking down on the increasingly popular practice, chasing off foragers and issuing summonses, as detailed in a recent front page story in The New York Times. Why? Some sources report wild ginger, ramps, and even entire cherry trees being uprooted and swiped from city parks. The Central Park Conservancy says it is concerned that its native species restoration efforts could be at risk, and one official there told the Times that chipmunks could go hungry as a result of salad-seeking humans out-competing them.
But is foraging truly as harmful to the parks’ ecosystems as all that? I checked in with expert forager and cookbook author Leda Meredith, who leads frequent tours of edible goodies in Brooklyn’s Prospect Park and other city locales, for some perspective.
Q. You’ve been foraging for a decade in New York City parks. Have you seen ... Read more