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How to be an urban fruit forager

How to be an urban fruit forager

Helena Martin co-founded the foraging platform, RipeNearMe. A Singapore native, her travels led her to Malaysia, Sydney, and ultimately Adelaide, South Australia. Here, Helena — a lifelong forager — shares tips to help other urbanites begin their own foresting journeys. 

My love affair with fruit goes back a long way. Our property had many fruit trees and I climbed almost all of them in spite of insect bites and other hazards. As kids, we were the best neighbourhood foragers although our fearlessness often landed us in trouble.

Neighbours were receptive to us kids, although I have now knocked on many doors and offered to pay for fruit and have been told to help myself. People tell me they would rather see the food eaten than rot on the ground as they don’t know what to do with the surplus.

Our modus operandi was, and still is, to scour the neighbourhood for anything edible and keep a record of what’s around. (I no longer climb fences so I can’t always see what is grown in the back, although I do ask). We had been warned about what fruit was edible and, if in doubt, to leave well alone. We sussed out the friendly neighbours and gave the unfriendly ones a wide berth.

Nowadays I drive and can go further but my MO remains the same. In the 10 km radius of where I live I can source 80% of my favourite fruit, mostly for free, for a token sum, or in exchange for my own homegrown produce. There are also fruit trees in community gardens and public areas. Today we feasted on sweet public mulberries, picked off the trees and straight into our mouths. Life doesn’t get better than this.

Everyone can get in on the foraging action.

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3 Sustainable Ways To Reduce Your Dependence on the Supply Chain

It’s no secret that the supply chain disruptions have created global impacts on us. Many of us are feeling the burn of soaring food prices and are ready to do what is necessary to continue to feed our families. It’s not about choice, it’s about survival, and now is the time to take the necessary steps to ensure you can make it when the entire food supply system crashes.

One of the easiest ways to reduce your dependence on the supply chain is to start finding ways to phase out food sourcing and make it a priority! That means you will need to be innovative and think of other ways food can be acquired than just going to the grocery store.

23 Things You Can Forage For From April to June

Create more sustainability around your life and you learn to live more simply in the process. You will realize how much you actually have and other ways of putting items to use. As well, as building a more localized food supply. You will also be reducing greenhouse gases due to the gas used to distribute fresh produce. This also boosts local economies and strengthens food security locally, which is where the focus needs to be. Quite honestly, it’s already around you – you just have to know where to find it.

  1. FORAGE: A simple way to start is to learn how to forage for edible plants. These plants live all around us, are abundant, and better yet; are free! Not only that, these edible plants can be medicinal and will have a lot of nutritional value! Here are some food freebies you can find in your own backyard.

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Here’s What You Need to Build a Forager’s Toolkit

Here’s What You Need to Build a Forager’s Toolkit

Why build a Forager’s Toolkit? Well, as the world experiences further supply chain disruptions and food shortages, now is the perfect time to add foraging to your list of prepper skills. To help with that endeavor, here’s a guide to the essentials you need in your Forager’s Toolkit to effectively harvest the food around you. 

Essentials to build a Forager’s Toolkit

Hawkbill Knife

I understand that a blade is a blade. But there’s no denying that having the right tool for the job can make it easier. For myself, I’ve noticed that a hawkbill blade makes harvesting/foraging MUCH easier.

Karambit

I’ve also used a Karambit to a similar effect. Karambits are for agricultural work, so I look at using this blade – which is now widely considered a fighting knife – as simply allowing it to get back to its roots. Here are a few to consider: 

Field Guides

When you build a foragers toolkit, you have to have field guides if you’re going to forage safely. I consider them an absolute necessity. You’re going to need more than one to verify that the plant in your hand is indeed what you think it is. When it comes to determining what the plant is, these books will help guarantee you’re about to eat what you think you are.

It’s also helpful to look for field guides specific to your area.

Mortar and Pestle

You will need to ground a large number of the plants and seeds you gather. Whether you’re making dandelion tea, a compress, or acorn flour, you’re going to need a heavy-duty and reliable way of beating the plant down into mush or powder… 

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How agriculture grew on us

How agriculture grew on us

 

The Neolithic revolution was neither Neolithic, nor a revolution.
— Colin Tudge

Human beings of the race that calls itself Homo sapiens lived in relative equality, in small foraging bands all its existence from the time they emerged about 200,000 years ago. Then, around 30,000 years ago, during a bit more clement time within the last ice age, glimmerings of inequality arose at sites known in Europe — in places that were unusually plentiful in game.

sungir

Tools grew more elaborate, trade widened, grave goods accompanied certain burials, jewelry and other prestige items became notable, and evidence of control over significant labor was in evidence (viz, for example, the stupendous numbers of sewn-on ivory beads in the Sungirgraves).

It has been hypothesized that at some locations, the fabled painted caves in France and Spain turned into places where elite children underwent their initiations. But when game grew sparse, humans went back to tight egalitarian cooperation.

Significant inequality kicked off around 15,000 years ago, after the end of the ice age, during the Magdalenian culture. By now, the dog, horse, and possibly the reindeer had been tamed by these stone-age foragers, thousands of years before the domestication of plants. The delicious pig was bred, also by foragers, in Anatolia about 13,000 years ago, while their Syrian neighbors may have tinkered with rye. A couple of millennia later, foragers built the impressive ceremonial center of Göbekli Tepe which shows the command of vast labor pools, not only to build the center, but eventually to bury it under a hill of gravel.

 

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Olduvai IV: Courage
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Olduvai II: Exodus
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