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with Vanessa Waters

Autumn Equinox Foraging Tour from natalieecuad on Vimeo.

WHEN: 20 SEPTEMBER 2014, 2-4PM
(Rue Clark@Rue Saint-Urbain, Mile-End)

The SensoriuM gratefully acknowledges support from the Centre for Sensory Studies and the Sustainability Action Fund at Concordia University.

This season, the SensoriuM is focusing on food (in)security:

Event Description:
During this tour & tasting event we will be spotting and harvesting wild edibles such as burdock and trying to find some fruit and chestnuts for free in parks.


Putting the Tour Into Context:
With autumn equinox just around the corner, this tour is a seasonal activity. It also takes place on the eve of the biggest demonstration on climate change in history. There are connections between these events, because foraging is a strategy to avoid wasting and to create alternatives to buying food in stores. Industrial agriculture has a big impact on climate change. For instance, Michael Pollan points out that 17% of fossil fuels go to feeding ourselves, compared with 18% used for personal transportation. Veteran forager Vanessa Waters shares her knowledge of foraging as a means of empowerment to combat a scarcity mindset. Today many people rely on grocery stores for food, and are at the mercy of their prices. Could it be that we will also lose our sense of entitlement to free, clean water? Foraging can be a way of maintaining common goods.

Foraging is a collaborative activity. It's about sharing, and it requires a deep connection to place. There is an unwritten etiquette involving a caring for others. Vanessa's rule of 
thumb is to pick only if there are 30 plants or more, and to take only one third of what is growing there. This way you take only what you need, and leave some for others.

Participants on this tour mentioned being from the following places:
Vancouver, Montreal, New Zealand, St Luis Missouri, France, Germany, Los Angeles, and Nigeria.

They described themselves like this:

artists, people searching for guerrilla gardens and urban food, foragers from other places (Ireland), students (at McGill and Concordia), from City Farm School Concordia, new gardeners, architect, urban design & planning, people interested in what's legal and accepted in public, postdoc in sensory studies, historian, community gardeners, nutritionists, people interested in permaculture and trans-collectivity, people who like spending time outside and discovering "nature" in the city, people wanting to understand Montreal food systems

What to Bring If You Plan to Forage:
A forager needs to be protected by the sun and hydrated so water, hats and clothes that are covering skin for thistles; long sleeves and pants. There is a lot of poisin ivy this year so light gardening gloves are a must along with rain gear and butter knife to gently dig up edible roots, some scissors or a sharp knife and some bags.

Vanessa Waters writes of her experience foraging with her grandmother as soon as she could walk:

"My grandmother was an interesting woman who used foraging not only as a hobby but most definitely for her food security over the winter. She had a subsistence farm with chickens, a cow and a good size garden in which she grew cabbage, carrots, onions and potatoes.

Her husband went out to work in the wilderness to work and there would be long periods without any money being sent home so she had the stores from her garden in a cellar. But what all of us participated in during our summer long visits were the multitudes of berries foraged every single day without barely making a dent in the patch.

In June my mother and aunts and all of their children set out with old margarine pots to a wild strawberry patch to fill our pots. They would check if the pot was full enough and kindly tell us we could go home when it was but we would all fill our quota (sometimes with the help of some older cousins) and fill our bellies with just as many berries as we picked. In July it was the blueberries, August a very short emergence of blackberries and raspberries and finally near the end something we called "des graines" which is best described as a wild cranberry.

On our walks my grandmother would point out edible plants telling us if we were ever lost to stay put and never eat anything she didn't tell us was safe. She would check her rabbit traps and carry a riffle if ever we encountered a partridge without babies trailing behind her."

Cette saison, le SensoriuM se concentre sur la nourriture (in) sécurité:

Description de l'événement:
Au cours de cette visite et dégustation nous ferons la récolte de plantes sauvages comestibles telles que la bardane et  des fruits et marrons qui poussent gratuitement dans les parcs.

Quoi apporter:
Un cueilleur doit être protégé du soleil et hydratée donc de l'eau, des chapeaux et des vêtements qui couvrent la peau ; manches longues et des pantalons. Il ya beaucoup de lierre poisin cette année, donc des gants de jardinage légers sont un must avec des vêtements de pluie et un couteau à beurre pour creuser délicatement les racines comestibles, des ciseaux ou un couteau bien aiguisé et quelques sacs.

Vanessa Waters écrit de son expérience de recherche de nourriture avec sa grand-mère dès qu'elle pouvait marcher:

"Ma grand-mère était une femme intéressante qui cueillait sa nourriture, non seulement comme un hobby, mais aussi pour sa sécurité alimentaire au cours de l'hiver. Elle avait une ferme de subsistance avec des poulets, une vache et un jardin de bonne taille dans laquelle elle a grandi du choux, carottes, oignons et les pommes de terre.

Son mari est sorti pour travailler à l'étranger pendant de longues périodes sans argent étant renvoyés. Chacun d'entre nous ont participé au cours de l'été à la cueillette des multitudes de petits fruits qui nous nourrissaient chaque jour sans à peine faire une brèche dans le patch.

En Juin ma mère et ses tantes et tous leurs enfants sortaient avec de vieux pots de margarine à un champ de fraises sauvages pour remplir nos pots. Ils vérifient si le pot était assez complet et nous disaient de bien vouloir remplir notre quota (parfois avec l'aide de quelques cousins ​​plus âgés) et remplir nos ventres avec autant de baies que nous avons choisi. En Juillet, il était les bleuets, Août une très courte apparition de mûres et de framboises et enfin vers la fin quelque chose que nous appelons "des graines", qui est décrit comme un canneberge sauvage.

Sur nos promenades ma grand-mère nous rappelaient les plantes comestibles . Elle allait vérifier ses pièges de lapin et portait un fusil en cas d'un rencontre avec une perdrix sans enfants traînant derrière elle. "

With generous support from the  Sustainability Action Fund, the Concordia Council on Student Life, and the Centre for Sensory Studies at Concordia University

1 comment:

  1. Great tour around the Mile End. Vanessa shared her knowledge of plants as well as some useful foraging tips. It was very informative and interesting; I had never really noticed all the vegetation around the city. The sumac lemonade was a fun way to end the tour!