Foraging is second best to growing your own food. While you give up the control of choosing what’s grown, foraging is free and doesn’t require a green thumb! Simply look for wild plants growing in nearby parks, forests and other green spaces ‒ you’ll probably be surprised at what’s in your area or in a neighbor’s yard. In my Los Angeles neighborhood there are many trees along the street with oranges, figs, kumquats and avocados. There are some websites listed in the Resource section that will point you towards specific locations of nearby trees and bushes. It’s like going on a treasure hunt!
You can find local colleges, plant societies, professional foragers and nature centers who offer free and low-cost foraging tours. Or, do it on your own with a field guidebook to make sure you find the good stuff and avoid poisonous plants. Next thing you know, you’ll be spotting edibles all over the place ‒ it’s become a really fun game for me in LA. To be polite and protect natural resources, pick from common plants, take only what you need and leave plenty untouched.
Check in with your neighbors about their food plants. Chances are, they are overwhelmed by the bounty of fruits or vegetables that grow in their yard and are happy to share. My best friend’s parents live across the street from my parents in Massachusetts, and they have a fantastic organic farm with kale, squash, raspberries and more that they give me free reign of whenever I’m in town during growing season. You can also look for urban community gardens who may have a produce giveaway or trade program.