Foraging is not just for the birds. Find tasty treats among the blossoming wildflowers and weeds growing in your neighborhood parks, parking lots, and medians. Think that’s gross? Think again!
Perhaps the most important factor to remember before you begin the journey into urban foraging is getting to know your plants. Become familiar with native edible plants and learn how to identify them. Never eat anything that you are not 100% sure of what it is.
Try not to harvest from places where you know pesticides or herbicides are used. Stay away from high traffic and high pollution areas such as highways and near busy streets. Plants absorb environmental toxins, which definitely should be avoided. Make sure to thoroughly wash all greens before consuming.
Laws for urban foraging vary at the city, state, and federal level, so it is wise to stay informed. As general rules, stay off private property unless otherwise noted. If foraging in a public park, ask the park ranger if it is allowed. Further information can usually be found on city or park websites. Goods can often be found in neighborhood medians and public places. If it’s in someone’s house, ask before you pick.
Now that you are equipped with the basic foraging rules, get ready to eat your weeds (and other things too!). When foraging in South Florida, keep an eye out for greens like Cuban oregano, sea purslane, and Spanish needles. Fruits can also be found in abundance, including mango, tamarind, and sea grapes. It’s Mother Nature’s dumpster dive, and the goods are anything but junk.