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Monday, 16 November 2009

There is such a thing as a free lunch




Transition Westcombe has launched its latest food project, an online urban foraging map detailing the free larder of edible plants growing around us.

So far the map – which you can find at www.tinyurl.com/freefoodmap - lists fruits and other foods including elder, rosehip, firethorn, cherries, chestnuts, Swedish whitebeam, and blackberries.

Anyone can edit the map, like a Wikipedia page, and we hope local people will contribute to it so it becomes a bank of community intelligence about local wild food locations.

There really is such a thing as a free lunch, or at least a free pudding or preserve, and it’s all around us - like the syrup and topping used in this firethorn berry cheesecake.

Of course we’ll never meet all our food needs by urban foraging, but that’s not the point. It’s a great way of learning about what we can make use of, and reconnecting with traditional recipes and foodstuffs, and this food definitely has zero food miles. Foraging makes you see your neighbourhood as a potential treasure trove - a new pie ingredient might be growing on the next bush.

At the moment the food map is a bit autumn-centric, because we’ve marked what we’ve spied and picked in the last month or two, but we want everyone to share their local knowledge so it becomes a year-round resource. Eventually we could turn it into a booklet or calendar and use it to raise a few pennies for the transition effort.

We’re taking a small risk by allowing anyone and everyone to edit it, but we've suggested a few guidelines on the site and we reckon people will enter into the spirit of it.

2 comments:

Sue said...

That's cool - did you design it? The pie looks familiar too ;)

Gavin said...

Doesn't take much designing as such, they're very easy to create on Google maps.