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New book teaches how to forage in your own backyard

Aug 4, 2015

The book includes tips for how to use the dandelion weed many people find to be so irritating.
Credit Flickr user Mike Mozart / http://michrad.io/1LXrdJM

Your backyard may be full of potential wild edibles that you never considered.

Lisa Rose is an herbalist, urban farmer and a forager. Her mission is to get us to connect with the land we live in by using plants we can find in our surroundings.  And you can learn how to do this in her book Midwest Foraging: 115 Wild and Flavorful Edibles from Burdock to Wild Peach.

Many people think of foraging as something that has to be done in wilderness, but Rose says there is potential all around us, saying she wants to "bring that level of awareness that nature is right out our front door, it's not just exclusively at a nature center or at the farmer's market."

Learning to forage does require time, but Rose believes it's worth it, saying, "There's always something the natural world can teach me. That in and of itself gives me tremendous satisfaction."

For Rose, foraging isn't just free food. It comes from a relationship with your land and an ability to understand the safety and sustainability of the region. This includes knowing whether the land has been redeveloped and whether this could carry a risk of heavy metal in the soil.

While Rose believes learning about the land and understanding how to use it is important, her biggest rule is still, "If you're not certain, don't eat it."

Rose has worked in many different areas of food systems, and she says her mission is to encourage people to understand the importance of everything that grows around us.