By Meg Crane

Foraging in the city has become somewhat of a trend lately. In Winnipeg, some folks have been hosting free walks taking people around the city to show off what’s edible.

Mushroom hunting has becoming rather popular, with folks using social media to help one another determine what is a tasty treat and what is potentially dangerous.

Some may be trying to shave a few bucks off the grocery bill, others might be trying to reconnect with nature. For others, it’s a fun, productive or interesting hobby.

Whatever the reason, there are a few things foragers do need to keep in mind.

For one, you need to really know what you’re doing. Some mushrooms look similar, but have very different affects on our bodies. Same goes for berries. If you’re not 100 per cent sure, turn away.

Even if you do know for certain that what you’re eating won’t land you in the hospital, you don’t really know what it’s been through. City pollution, pesticides and even peeing animals might have contaminated what you’re about to put in your mouth. A survey of surroundings and a quick wash is not be a bad idea.

The food isn’t there for you. You find a good raspberry bush? It’s not yours. A huge burst of chive sprouts? Not yours. Other folks walking by might want to enjoy the fruit. Animals may be relying on it for a snack. If you’re in a high traffic area, take a small share and move one.

Heading to a forest might be the best way to ensure you’re getting clean food that not a lot of other people might want to enjoy. A weekend camping trip with friends could end up with a cooler full of delicious snacks for the week. Or, maybe you should find a community garden or friend with a backyard where you can grow safe edibles to your heart’s content.

A few common edible plants you might find, depending on where you live, are:

  • Purslane
  • Goosefoot
  • Chives
  • Mint
  • Strawberries
  • Raspberries
  • Yarrow

Meg Crane is the founder of Cockroach. Follow her on Twitter.

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