Foraging Walk at the US Capitol in Washington DC. Food is Growing EVERYWHERE!

Can you find food and medicine growing in your city? Rob Greenfield’s answer… YES!
To show you, he led a foraging walk in Central Park, in the heart of New York City, one of the most urban cities in the United States. Here he found food and medicine growing at every step.

In this video Rob introduces you to approximately 10 common edible and medicinal plants and shares tips on how to get started foraging and overcome the anxiety and fear, foraging safety, ethical foraging and how to become a plant wizard!

For one month Rob Greenfield foraged 100% of his food, over 100 different foods from the land. At the same time he traveled from city to city, leading foraging walks connecting helping to reconnect his Dear Friend with Earth. We recorded this plant walk in Central Park for YOU!

Inspired to learn the foods and medicines growing freely and abundantly around you?
See Rob’s foraging guide for beginners:
(For links to all resources mentioned in this plant walk, see the above link).
Get Rob’s new book, Food Freedom:
Find a Forager near you:

Here is a list of the plants we met at the US Capitol and timestamps so you can click right to meeting that plant:
wild rice (Zizania aquatica) – 1:05
sea salt – 6:50
Staghorn sumac (Rhus typhina) – 11:00
clover (Trifolium pratense, T. repens) – 12:50
creeping Charlie (Glechoma hederacea) – 15:20
violet (Viola spp.) – 17:40
goldenrod (Solidago canadensis) – 18:25
dandelion (Taraxacum officinale) – 19:15
dandelion, chicory, burdock, dock – 26:00
reishi, Lion’s mane, turkey tail, maitake – 26:45
yaupon holly (Ilex vomitoria) – 27:30
Peppercress (Lepidium spp.) – 36:35
black nightshade (Solanum nigrum) – 41:40
sugar maple (Acer saccharum) – 46:15
wood sorrel (Oxalis acetosella) – 48:20
Plantago (Plantago spp.) – 49:00
Oak (Quercus spp.) – 56:40
Black Walnut (Juglans nigra) – 1:00:00
Japanese Knotweed (Reynoutria japonica) – 1:03:12

Rob Greenfield’s work is Creative Commons and this content is free to be republished and redistributed, following the terms of the creative commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 license. Learn about Creative Commons and see the guidelines here:

Rob Greenfield is an activist and humanitarian dedicated to leading the way to a more sustainable and just world. He embarks on extreme projects to bring attention to important global issues and inspire positive change. 100% of his media income is donated to grassroots nonprofits.
His YouTube channel is a source to educate, inspire and help others to live more sustainable, equal and just lives. Videos frequently cover sustainable living, simple living, growing your own food, gardening, self-sufficiency, minimalism, off the grid living, zero waste, living in a tiny house and permaculture.

Find Rob Greenfield on:
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Twitter: @RobJGreenfield

Hello dear friends I am in front of the U.S Capitol here in Washington DC and I'm about to show you that you can find Food growing freely and abundantly even Here on this manicured lawn and around The concrete indeed there is even food Growing here I'm going to introduce you To some beginners tips on how you can Get foraging and introduce you to about A dozen of my different plant friends Join me here at the U.S Capitol to find Food growing freely and abundantly Let's go Today is day 30 of living completely off Of the food that I've foraged from the Land And overall I feel great it's been an Excellent month I've foraged about a Hundred different plants from Wisconsin To New York City as I've been traveling Here from my wild rice which actually I have a little bag of wild rice here And we're going to do a little offering So if you want to take part in the Offering as I'm giving this little Introduction Just go ahead and take a few grains of This wild rice or manomen from the bag And then we'll wait to do a little Offering together so you can just pass The bag around And Omen wild rice has been one of the Most important plants it's been my Staple food and it is a plant that I

Foraged in the homeland of where I'm From which is uh anishinabe land or some People have heard of the English word Ojibwe Or Chippewa and so one thing that I want To acknowledge is that today we're on We're foraging on Stolen land land that Is here it is what it is today because Of genocide that happened you know a Couple hundred years ago but still Continues to happen here in what we call The United States also called Turtle Island and so I think it's a really Important thing to acknowledge that and Acknowledge the land that we're on and Start to reconnect with that because if We're out foraging and we're connecting These plants but we're not connecting to The history of this land that's a pretty Big important part of of for me Equality and justice and regeneration of Our Earth and community And so one thing that I want to share is That today we are going to joyously Learn some new plants we're going to Make some new plant friends But I would not be here today if this Was just about foraging for me foraging Is ultimately it's an act of resistance In a dominator culture where you know What we have here called the United States we have these ideas of societal Norms or societal stigmas and it's like You do things this way and the global

Industrial food system is part of that What we've seen is the mono cropping of Our plant relatives into just a very few Number of foods that we'll find at the Grocery store And today you're going to meet a lot of Well you're going to meet some plants That you probably have never heard of Before that you'll never find in the Grocery store and so foraging is an act Of resistance because it's saying to Big Ag and to these big corporations hey we Don't actually need you we know that the Food is growing freely and abundantly All around us and we can find the most Nutritious food that grows on Earth and Delicious food that grows on Earth and We can do this without money we can do This together as a community while Building our resources and our skills so There's so much more that I can say About that but I just do really want to Say that this is about so much more than Just eating wonderful foods and finding Our medicines Besides food we're also going to be Finding medicine today and one of the You know things that we've gotten Disconnected from in this current Society is that our food is our medicine There's that old saying of let thy food Be thy medicine and thy Medicine by that Be thy food and that's exactly what I've Been doing over the last month and

That's what I did during my Year of Living a hundred percent on food that Food that I either grew or foraged so We're also learning about the medicines Of the plants today that are growing Around us and when we're tied into this Fast food you know Global industrial Food system that food actually we're Finding makes a lot of us sick rather Than it being our medicine it's what Creates uh is that is that everyone it Creates an environment where we actually Need medicine to take care of ourselves Because of that food so one of the big Pictures of this today is we're finding Food that would have every bite actually Heals us So did everybody get a little bit of Wild rice or manomen I'll show it for the people that are out There on the internet So Um what we're going to do is just give a A little bit of gratefulness to the land And offer this as a little offering to The land so just returning this little Bit of manomen or wild rice to the Earth And giving gratitude and thanks to the Land and For me it's it's just the action of Taking the moment to live in gratitude And one of the other big elements of Today is Um is just being grateful plants really

Really are a wonderful way to tune in And be grateful we can we kind of live In this world where We kind of never have enough when it Comes to money and things like that but Once you be once you become friends with The plants you kind of have everything You need because there's just so many Out there So a couple of things before we go out And meet some of the plants I know that A lot of you are wondering this big Question of how do you not die when You're foraging how many of you have Seen Alexis Nicole she goes by the black Forager she's she's got like four Million followers on Tick Tock and on Instagram and that's how she signs off Every video with don't die and there's a Reason why I think it's because a lot of People assume that they might die if They're trying to harvest you know Foods I'm just gonna take a little drink this Is Sumac Aid with Goldenrod Um Um Oh also To keep you all entertained as we Continue these into the ethics this is Some sea salt I just harvested this I harvested the water boiled it down to Make salt and if you'd like to try some Homemade sea salt I'll pass that around

And you can have a pinch it's got a bit Of an oceany flavor to it So the number one rule of foraging Before we go out and meet the plants and We'll just talk for about three more Minutes and then we'll go out and meet The plants Um the number one rule of foraging is Simply only eat something if you're a Hundred percent sure of what it is that Is how you don't die and that's how you Don't get sick and people ask me like That question on on the internet all the Time like how do you know which plants Are edible well because you learn which Plants are edible just like you would Learn a sport or music or dance or Anything you're in class for Or how to walk you learn it you practice It and so as far as the plants goes the Ideas we were disconnected from the Plants Because our society has not taught us This and what we have to do is we have To learn them before eating them so a Few tips for that number one one plant At a time a lot of people they look out Into this beautifully green world and They feel intimidated because they're Like how do I How do I figure out which plants to eat When there's so many plants so my Recommendation is you learn one plant at A time it's very overwhelming to try to

Learn all of them you couldn't do it but If you focus on learning one plant at a Time like today for example you'll learn Dandelion maybe that's your plant or We're going to talk about Ginkgo and Maybe that's your plant so just learn One plant at a time and then you can Take it slow you can take it safely and You can make sure that you're ethically Foraging A note on that is if you want to you Know really start to learn a lot more Plants one of the things you can do is You can learn one plant per month and if You do that and you do that for one year After a year you'll know 12 plants if You could work with 12 different plants As food and medicine that would be quite Something for most of us here that would Be a lot compared to today actually on That note how many of you would consider Yourself beginners to foraging Cool so almost all of us Is there anyone here that is like kind Of a really knowledgeable forger or Anybody who's like a foraging teacher by Chance All right well my friend Eric Joseph Lewis is going to be joining us for the Last half hour you'll get to meet him He's a plant Wizard and so that's what I Was going to say is if you want to Really become a plant wizard you can Learn one plant per week for a year if

You do that you'll know 52 plants Imagine you know how many of your Friends know 52 plants just by learning One a week which is something you can do In your spare time spending even just 10 Minutes a day 20 minutes or a cup cup You know couple hours a week doing Something fun you can become a plant Wizard compared to the Muggles around You in one year so You know my suggestion is take it take It slow one step at a time and then as Far as some of the ethics of foraging I'll sprinkle that in as we're meeting Some of the different plants but Well one of the keys to ethical foraging Is getting to know the plants each plant Has a different Way of interacting with the work with The Earth the way that it grows where it Lives how long it's alive how it Produces fruit or seed and so the the Real way to forge ethically is to get to Know each plant and learn about it So for example In here I have sumac Aid which is the Sumac the fruit of sumac Which has those red spikes those red Spiky Like clusters on top of them and that You can Harvest to your heart's content You're just gonna pinch those off those Spread by mostly by by their Roots Rather than by seeds so you can Harvest

This to your heart's content Goldenrod Is the other plant inside of here and When I pick Goldenrod what I do is I Just pinch some of the tops off and I Leave some of them there that way There's some for the bees and the Butterflies and some to continue the Life cycle So each plant you'll learn but as you Get to know more and more you'll start To reconnect with With Um how to forage ethically but there's a Lot of plants that you can forage Extremely sustainably anybody who tells You that it's destructive to forage is Someone who just really doesn't know What they're talking about because the Truth is is that people who start to Forage are people who start to want to Protect the land because they have a Connection with the plants all right I Officially feel like I have talked way Too much and we got to meet some plants So I was gonna do this whole thing where I Was gonna have you all take like five Steps and then stay say stop and then Say what plans have we Already what what foods and medicines Have we walked over but I don't want you To step on these beautiful mushrooms Here and I feel like they might get Trampled on so we won't do that so I'm

Going to start right here Let's look down at the ground does Anybody see a food what or what they Think might be a food or medicine within This you know little circle of people we Have here Clover we see Clover all right that's One This is clover here and you can see this Leaf you've all probably heard of you Know the idea of looking for a four-leaf Clover so most clovers are three leaves And if you look around you'll probably Find one by your feet but you see this Large cluster of them over here and then We have the clover flower right here So the two species of clover that you'll Come across are the red clover and the White clover So As far as how you can work with this Plant a common thing is you'll find Clover tea so you can make tea from the Clover red clover tends to be used more And then also in the springtime you can Suckle on these and there's a little bit Of nectar in there that's something I've Been doing since I was a little kid and You can just suckle that little nectar Out and it's nice there's not really Nectar this time of year So the red clover is the more desirable One for making tea and you can eat these Leaves too

That being said I'm starting off with a Plant That is not exactly delicious It's a fine plant it's a great one to Know every forager you know knows this Plant more or less so it's a great one To know but it's not one that I eat a Lot of it's not one that I work with a Lot the the Clover tea though is one That is a staple for a lot of people It's a very healthy tea however Clover is not one you're going to eat Endless amounts of because it's in the Pea family which some of them have Alkaloids in them toxic alkaloids but Nibbling on some of this is not an issue At all it's just not when you eat in Large quantities in your salad bowls So let's see any else thing other things On clover Well I think one thing that I want to Mention is clover is what's called a Weed you've probably all heard that term Before today we're going to meet a lot Of plants that are considered to be Weeds and I just want to say that weed Is just a human-made concept there is no Such thing as a weed by Nature's Standards every plant has its place and Its purpose and the truth is is that Most of the plants that are considered To be sort of the bane of humans Existence are almost they're almost Always a food or a medicine

So Clover is a nice plant to get to know Um the other plant that we have right Here Is this is called Creeping Charlie or Ground ivy so everybody see if you can Find one of these growing around you And give it a smell and feel free to Harvest one of these they get mowed and I'm assuming they'd get mowed soon Anyway so no harm in harvesting one of These Give it a nice smell And so there's a whole cluster of them Over here if anybody wants to come over Here to get some these tend to grow in More moist areas so you're going to find Them more in the dips So if you found one Give it a smell Quite a unique smell right like really Strong almost like Almost like too strong in a way But this is a really nice medicine so When I was traveling down to Birmingham Alabama this summer I had a cold and I I Happened to be going to stay with some Herbalists at a place called Walden Pharmacy That's F-a-r-m-a-c-y instead of pH Walden Pharmacy they gave me ground ivy Tincture and what a tincture is is That's just different plants that are Put into alcohol

And the alcohol pulls out the medicines And so that's a very simple thing that You can make you can make your own Tinctures and ground ivy tincture is one Of the ones that they gave me now if you Want to try ground ivy It's got a a flavor that I can't Describe it's very strong Um Truly no words to describe it it's I Guess Ground ivy it tastes like ground ivy That's the only thing that I know so This is one you can add to your salad Bowls you can throw some of this into Your juice if you're juicing greens you Can saute this and Um it's a common one you'll find this in Most yards and all around so this is Again ground ivy or Creeping Charlie the Plant that looks the most like it is Violet and hopefully we find some Violet Today as well and Violet's also edible But that plant you can eat tons of Because it's very mild Any questions on Clover or ground ivy Oh someone likes that Yes so the question was what was the Tincture for what what's the medicine of It and So I don't actually know I just listened To the pharmacists the Herbalists which is often what I do However what I'll say is that the

Medicines that I tend to work with are What I consider sort of generalist Medicines so Um this is a medicine for me the Goldenrod how I make tea from Goldenrod Is I just harvest the heads So I just will harvest the heads both The green and the flour and then I will Put them into a cup and I'll pour Boiling water or close to boiling water Over them and let it steep for three to Five minutes one thing that it's Commonly used for is people think They're allergic to Goldenrod but Actually what they're most likely Allergic to is ragweed and this actually Helps to alleviate the allergic reaction To Ragweed so that's one of the things That it's good for so this is a Wonderful one that you can be harvesting Right now through the fall Okay let's um let's go for let's start Walking Finally and See what we find we're gonna walk right Over here to some of these trees Dandelion is one that I really just Absolutely have to share I mean it's one Of the most to me it's one of the most Important plants of of my life and to so Many people it's a plant that they try To eradicate from their yard that they Try their hardest to destroy and here we Are at the U.S Capitol which definitely

Is trying pretty hard to make this just A mono crop of of grass but here the Dandelion stands it's an incredibly Resilient plant no matter how TR hard Society tries to destroy it it is here And it is here in huge quantities as Food and medicine so it stands by us as A wonderful plant Ally and The entire plant is food and medicine so A lot of a lot of you probably know that The flower that the the leaf is edible And One the main reason that people probably Don't eat dandelion is because it's Bitter so I have a trick on how you can Make dandelions not bitter anymore And it's just eat them every day and Eventually you'll get used to them and They won't be bitter anymore It really works As your palette is liberated from the Global industrial food system and it Tastes all these new flavors like the Ground ivy and the dandelion your palate Will adjust to it and over time these Flavors that you once like cringed for You will actually start to Crave and I Crave bitters one thing that I want to Say about bitters is bitter is a sign of Medicine now bitter doesn't mean it's Edible there's bitter toxic plants and There's bitter edible plants but when They're bitter and edible it's a sign of Medicine

Lettuce in the grocery store is the Opposite of the resilient dandelion in My mind because what's happened to the Lettuce at no fault of the lettuce Actually wild lettuce is an incredible Plant that I eat a lot of and it's Bitter What's happened to the domesticated Lettuce is they've bred the bitterness Out of it because the U.S American Palette is one of white bread of the Lack of flavor and so what's happened by Doing that is they've also bred the Nutrients out of it and the medicine out Of it and they've bred a plant that Needs pesticides in order to protect it But how it protected itself before was The bitterness so by being bitter the Plant can still be eaten but not Overeaten so it protects itself but Still allows it to be food and medicine To other animals So Um the other way that you can reduce the Bitterness though and this is for Real This isn't a joke is you just saute it You heat it up and by doing that you Decrease the bitterness and the same Goes for the other strong flavored Greens so what I like to make is Something called horta which is a Greek Word which means like a mess of Different cooked greens so what you do Is you take your different greens you

Chop them up and then you saute them in Olive oil and then you add lemon and Salt very simple it's a way to eat a Whole lot of greens and I like to eat Raw greens but when it comes to foraging With a lot of the stronger flavors I'm Able to eat a lot more greens and get a Lot more nutrients in by cooking them so I add a lot of them to soups and stews Um Sometimes I juice but mostly it's Sauteing or blanching is the other thing I do which is you just put you just put Them into a pot pour boiling water over Them and then let that sit for about a Minute and when the leaves actually have Turned brighter green you take them out And the nutrients are then more Available and more digestible you don't Leave them in until they turn like a Bland green it's while they're brighter Green so would I eat this dandelion Yes did I just consume some pesticides I'm guessing So based on where we are Right now Am I worried about that No but would I make a habit of eating These dandelions as my staple diet I Would not do that I would go to areas Where less pesticides are sprayed but I Really wanted to come here to the Capitol because I just thought it would be wonderful to See what's growing here and I thought it

Would be a very interesting place to end The month of eating from the land and I Will say Normally I do not check the places out In advance but I was worried so I got Here a couple hours early to see if There actually would be any food and it Only took me about 20 minutes to find Over 10 different foods and medicine so Even here Food and Medicine exists we're gonna Meet Oak but we're gonna go meet the Magnific Magnificent giant white oak Back there in a moment this is a a Little lovely little Oak here So let's con oh okay another note on Dandelion of course the leaves are Edible the flowers are edible the stems Of the flower so This flower has already gone you know You know the yellow dandelion flowers This is already flowered and it's Already in its seed stage and it hasn't Opened up yet but the stem Is also edible the Malkin side of that Edible and then the roots are edible as Well and how you work with the roots as Medicine is you dig up the roots you Roast them I like to chop them up first Roast them In a pan or in the oven Until they're like crispy dry or you can Basically break it they're brittle that Means you've removed all the moisture

They will store long term that way for Years you can just put them into jars or Bags and then you then you well then What I like to do is grind them in a Blender but you don't have to do that And it turns into basically like what Looks like coffee sort of and it's used As a coffee substitute it's not Caffeinated but it does have a nice Aroma and it has a nice flavor so it's Got that nice morning like kick to it And what you can the other routes you Can do this with are so dandelion Burdock Chicory and dock you can do the same Exact process of just digging up the Roots chopping them up roasting them Or um and then Blending that up into a nice coffee-like Powder and then you just boil that and Then you have a really nice tea and it's Great for the winter right now is root Harvesting season and you can Harvest Those until the ground freezes you can Still Harvest them after the ground Freezes it's just a lot of work so now Is the time to be harvesting those roots So that's a wonderful wonderful tea very Hearty very nice to drink through the Winter And what I like to do is with that a Mixture of different mushrooms like Chaga reishi lion's mane and turkey tail And maitake which that's a lot you know

I know we're all we're beginners here But I I want to share that excitement of That medicinal mushroom tea those are Five of the medicinal mushrooms in the Stamets stack which is like seven Different mushrooms cordyceps and There's one other Um but you can forge all of those in the DC region And then the other thing is it's not Again it's not caffeinated but I just Want to give a little shout out to a Plant called yapon Holly which grows in The Southern United States which is the Only caffeinated plant to this Continental it's only the only native Caffeinated plant to basically Continental United States it Yeah and it's very closely related it's A cousin to Yerba mate And so it has the same benefits of green Tea but it's grown right here and it Grows as far north as North Carolina Along the coast and then from Texas all The way through Alabama Louisiana Mississippi Georgia and then Florida and then parts of South Carolina And North Carolina so if you ever take a Trip down there you can Harvest your Caffeine and have a local caffeine Source you can also buy it it's called Yapon Holly So okay now we've talked about dandelion Does anybody have any questions on

Dandelion before we Scoot on to the next Plant whichever Ones that ends up being here So the question is would I rinse off the Roots before roasting them depends on How busy I am that day When you're roasting The Roots you're Going to kill any bacteria that's in That soil so there's no harm in eating You know having some of that soil and It's also going to sit at the bottom of The cup so it's not going to go into Your mouth so that's a preference Whether you you know scrub them down Most people would probably scrub them Down I may or may not depending on what I'm up to that day Thanks yeah with the attitudes don't die Does this one have like a look-alike so Dandelion has quite a few plants that Look similar to it but they're all in The lettuce family so you have Dandelions wild lettuce and then um Thistles and all thistles lettuces and Dandelions are edible Um and so some are going to be Undesirable some are going to have Thorns and you can see the thorns and Not put them into your mouth or put them In your mouth if you want to but all the All the thistles are also edible you can Work with those Um so and then chicory looks like it too But chicory is you treat chicory just as

Dandelion Um chicory has a ridge of hairs along The bottom but it doesn't matter chicory And dandelion you can eat the leaves in The same way and use the roots so one of The reasons dandelion is a great plant To start with is because it is a very Easy to identify beginner one anything You're finding that now okay one note on That look alike depends on how much You're paying attention because there's Certainly things that are green and our Leaves and are toxic and can kill you Now also I'll say there's very few Things that can kill you this whole idea Of like being afraid of dying it's very Hard to die most people who die are People who are just picking up random Most of the time mushrooms And not having any paying attention just Eating them very rarely does a forager Actually die from eating a plant but the Really toxic plant would be water Hemlock and poison hemlock those would Be like you know the the real those are The ones that cause some deaths but 100 Avoidable Um so dandelion's a very easy one to get Started with one Oh yes But if you're super sensitive Yeah I mean so oh that's one other thing Another way you can identify dandelion Is it does have a latex that comes out

Of it which I'm not seeing any coming Out of this one right now there's just The tiniest bit Yeah But um Yes so she mentioned a sensitivity to Latex Um I'm definitely some people are Sensitive to a lot of things and that's One of the tips of foraging is anytime You're working with a new plant just try A little bit the first time that's one Of the other really important safety Tips is With any new plant just try a little bit And ideally You can be extra safe if you only try One new plant per day because then if You do have a reaction you'll know what Plant you're reacting to I have tried 15 New plants in a day so I'm not saying I Follow all of these rules but as Beginners if you want to play it safest One new plant today and always just Nibble you know a little bit of each Plant to start with but also You know Do what feels right to you like Dandelion they sell it at the grocery Store it's a domesticated crop I've never heard of anyone having any Real reaction to it so most of the Plants that I'm introducing you today Like you can put them into your salad

Bowl So that's dandelion any last questions On dandelion Sure They spread by rhizomes or by spreading Seeds yes so the question was like will I harvest different plants differently And the answer is yes so if I wanted to Harvest a dandelion without damaging the Plant what I would do is I would Harvest If there's Well like from this dandelion plant Right here I would just Harvest maybe half of these Leaves but that being said as I've said Dandelion is also one that you can Harvest For the root and if you're harvesting The root It means you're pulling up the whole Plant so dandelion is one of those Plants that is so abundant that you can Absolutely Harvest as you desire Ah darn it Now I really want it That's a nice Thick dandelion root ah Anyone got a shovel Ah I'm sure the White House or the capitol Is not too happy about this I'll cover It back up So there's a little chunk of dandelion Root there so side that's a side track

From the original question Which was yes every plant I'm going to Harvest differently but so far we've Been talking about weeds that there's so Much of it that there's not a need to Worry about harvesting too much Dandelion or things like that they come Back very prolifically We will see if there's a plant today That I would harvest in smaller Quantities but here on this lawn you Know again we're mostly harvesting weeds But yes so the key is Like for example let's talk about wild Ramps for a minute wild ramps are one of The plants that do sometimes get Decimated there's acre sometimes Acres Of it are destroyed and that's from Harvesting the bulbs generally with Ramps I harvest the leaves and not the Bulbs but if I do harvest the bulbs if There's like 10 in a clump I'll just Harvest like three or four from each Clump and some plants actually thrive on Being thinned because the reality is is That a lot of plants have developed over Tens of thousands of well yeah tens of Thousands of years with the human beings Who lived with them so when the Colonizers came to the United States and They saw or what we call the United States now and they saw what they Thought was like pure untouched nature What they were actually seeing was the

Indigenous people The the forest that they had tended to And they had made they had they had been Tending to these these plants for Hundreds or thousands of years and they Were super abundant forests of food by Working with the animals and the plants And so A lot of these plants have developed Over many many many years along with Humanity so with that being said there Are plants that actually Thrive with Human interaction there's plants where When we dig around for the roots we Actually create space for more roots to Grow for example or for their seeds to Fall and germinate but we can also by Digging open it up to what are Considered invasive plants that can then Thrive so every plant is different and It's about learning to work with them But again with these plants that we're Doing today mostly weeds so less you Know less important okay so this next Plant here is commonly called pepper Grass Um another name for it is Poor Man's pepper and the idea of Calling it poor man's pepper is this Idea of foraging being something for People in poverty and that's something That you've seen more and more over the Last you know 50 70 100 Years is as the Global industrial food system took over

And we saw more things like processed Foods and and white bread that's come Around in what the 50s 60s there's this Negative connotation with foraging that It's only something you would do because You're poor it is poverty food and poor Man's pepper represents that it's called Poor Man's pepper as in you would only Have this if you can't buy black pepper But my friend Eric Joseph Lewis he Started to call this rich man's pepper And that's what I call it now too Because the reality is is that foraging With the right mindset allows you to Access foods that honestly I could never Afford some days I eat like 300 dollars Worth of food I could never buy the you Know maitake or Hen of the Woods that's Thirty dollars a pound at the Supermarket but I'll find 200 of that at One tree So definitely foraging is about taking Back you know a lot of this this fear of People looking down on you I mean for me To be sitting here on the ground and Eating food from the ground is Definitely I like it because it's Humbling it helps me to you know stay Humble and to connect with plants in This way so I like to call this one rich Man's pepper and it's used as a pepper Substitute if well here Will pass We'll pass this around

Um and you can all take a little nibble If you want to pass that around while We're talking about it so the leaves of Pepper grass are edible And the seed heads are seed pods are Edible as well the seed pods I find to Be most desirable when they're green Like they are now And Um it's again I mentioned used as a Pepper substitute but if you go into This expecting black pepper you're going To be disappointed so instead go into it Expecting Something else and I consider this Like More like a wasabi-ish type of flavor Um Or actually it tastes just like Watercress to me Which I love Watercress it's one of my Favorite greens one of my favorite foods So yeah I give it a very water crusty Flavor So it's a nice one you know right now With me eating 100 food from the land This is more valuable to me like adding These flavors but when I had a garden And was both growing and foraging all of My food and I had all the things like Coriander and cilantro and basil and Thyme and rosemary and and oregano and All of these I didn't really go for this

It wasn't so important but when Eating just foraged food this is a Really wonderful one and so you can just Use these fresh I've never actually Dried them I don't know if they hold on To their flavor dry so I tend to use This as a fresh one So this is again Rich man's pepper Poor Man's Pepper or Pepper grass and the leaves and the Flowers and you can eat the stock as Well the stock is a little more tough But you can eat it So that is that plant anybody have any Questions about this You said so all of it you can eat all of It yes uh not the root just the above Ground area but the stock is not Something people would generally eat Because it's like fibrousy but if you Were like to be efficient well again I Don't know if you would dry this because I think you use you lose the flavor by Drying but with a lot of herbs like this I'll dry them and then blend them up Including the the stem and then there's Just that you know bit of woodiness Because it's but because it's blended it Doesn't really matter but this I don't Think that would apply to this because Watercress loses its flavor dried so I Think this probably would as well Um so yeah

Other questions on this plant So the next plant that I want to Introduce you to is A very small plant Right here Um oh here's a nice nice little patch of Rich man's pepper and next to it is Can anyone recognize this from where you Are it's it's a small one to be looking At so it's not the most ideal it's got These little green berries on it Hospital it's not a horse nettle but I Could see how it looks like that no no Pokers on it So I'm gonna pick this and bring it over Here So this is a plant that is by many books Considered to be highly toxic uh even You know by some books considered to be Deadly this is something that is called Some people consider it to be deadly Nightshade But this is not deadly nightshade this Is American Nightshade and it has been Eaten by well according to Sam Thayer's Literature three billion people around The world actually eat the leaves of This or the berries So This is Black Nightshade or American Nightshade And It's often confused with a Nightshade

From Europe That is toxic however you do not Generally find that growing very often I've actually maybe seen it once to my Recollection So Um when this plant is Young and tender The leaves are eaten by millions of People around the world potentially over A billion people Africa parts of Africa And Asia in particular is where I've Heard about that and then the berries When they are ripe are edible not when They're green so when the berries are Ripe they turn a like black and they're A shiny black They have Um and the the fruit so they're a Nightshade like tomatoes and there are a Lot of plants that are nightshades that Are toxic potatoes Um have toxic leaves although some People do boil them that are you know in Extreme conditions and they can boil Them enough times to remove those toxins And eat them you know the leaves of Of peppers and of Um eggplants so there's some edible Nightshades but a lot of nightshades are Toxic so that being said this is not a Beginner plant even though billions of People have eaten it there's a lot of Fear around it so if you have that fear Don't have it be your first plant you

Know wait till later But how you identify this is the calyxes Which is the little The little basically where the berry Attaches to the stem there's a Star-shaped calyx and that is only Either smaller than the berry or about The size of the berry whereas on the Toxic Nightshade that is much bigger And then the leaves are different There's quite a few differences to them I'm not going to go into all those Because this really is more of just an Introduction the focus of today is not That you'll be able to identify all of These plants the real focus is I want Just for you to be introduced to the Fact that food is growing all over the Place that food is growing freely and Abundantly all around us I'm not an Expert at really teaching people exactly The details of identifying that's where I would recommend books and you know YouTube channels and going out with Other foragers so on that note as far as Going out with other foragers the Resource that I recommend for that is a Database that I created it's find a and there's hundreds of Foragers listed on there I'm sure There's some in the DC area including Eric Joseph Lewis who lives up at plant Path Nursery up in Knoxville Maryland And he's a great person to learn from in

This area So that's a great website if you want to Find a forager to go out with and that's One of my definite recommendations is to Go out with foragers whether it's in a Big group setting like this or in Smaller settings and a lot of foragers Are available for hire Um not me I like to do this just as a You know as a service but a lot of Foragers that's what they do they take People out foraging they teach them how To forage and a lot of times classes are Like thirty dollars and by spending Thirty dollars you will learn thousands Of dollars worth of of knowledge so That's a little bit about uh the black Nightshade Who knows this one Nope Very common like the oak Yes anyone know what kind of maple it is Sugar maple it says right here on the Side Acer saccharum Um that's the genus and species so we're Not going to talk for long about sugar Maple but who knows what you can make From the sugar maple Maple syrup so I would love to see one Of you tap this tree in the spring if You do please let me know I think that Would be amazing to tap the sugar maple In front of the U.S Capitol if none of

You are going to do it I may have to Take a trip back up here for that that Is uh around here probably March has Anyone ever tapped a maple Do you know what time of year that would Be or was that here March nice so just a Note on May on maple syrup So maple syrup comes from the maple tree There are different Maples that you can Harvest from but the sugar maple aptly Named is the most productive there's Other trees that you can make syrups From as well Um to tap the tree it's a pretty simple It's a pretty basic thing Um and basically you you have a tap with A metal spigot and then the water flows Out of it it is it is a sustainable Thing that you can do you can Harvest Maple syrup in a way that doesn't damage The tree and what you're doing is in the Spring when all this water is Flowing up You're having you're accessing some of That water and it's got that sugar in it So it's about a 40 or 61 ratio of water To Sugar so you have to boil down a lot Of water to get maple syrup but you can Also just drink that maple sap that Maple Water straight out of the tree as Well which is a nice experience so Sugar maple That's all I'm gonna say about that oh So come look at this everyone So this is all the this is wood sorrel

But growing like you would see clovers Like I showed you how wood soil is you Know higher up but this is all that Little wood soil all over here you can See here's a plant of it coming up and Here's another plant coming up right Here but this is all tiny little wood Swirls so if anybody would like to taste Wood sorrel this would be a good Opportunity if you want to try that Lemony-ness go in for a little nibble Take a few leaves there's plenty So plantago is actually both the genus And the common name for this plant so Most plants they're you know Latin name Which is you have a genus and a species This is plantago Major Most of the time your common name is not Going to be that at all but this happens To have the same common name as his Latin name plantago so there's two Species of plantago around plantago Major oh goodbye Nice to see you Um plantago major and plantago minor Plantago Miner is going to have leaves That are lancelate which means they're Like kind of like like pointy And then plantago major has these Rounded leaves and these leaves can get You know way bigger and they're in lots Of Lawns and it's just kind of Ridiculous how hard it is to find Plantago or another name for this is

Broadleaf plantain or narrow Leaf Plantain and they are one of the most Common plants across what we call North America in fact they're called White Man's footprint is another name for them Because they came over with the Colonizers and they spread all across This land that being said there is also A native species and the native species Actually has purple on its stem that's How you know that you have the native One Either one can be used medicinally the Same way as food or as medicine And same with the narrow Leaf plantain So Let's see so normally you'll find this In huge quantities and it's just so Ironic that there's none of it here uh You know on this lawn I'm really Surprised because we found lots of other You know weeds but for some reason this One's just not around But Um one way to identify this is that it's Got these very Very Um The The veins are very prominent very Pronounced veins you can see those there And when you when you rip this apart Gently often those veins will actually Stay Together

That didn't didn't quite happen but you Can see that one vein came outside can You see that back there there's like This one little vein sticking out it's Pretty small let me see if I can do this One No it doesn't always do it The veins yeah veins of salary yeah There you could see a few veins so That's one of the um sort of identifying Things about it you'll see this plant is All over and so how I work with plantago Is like the others I put this into into Horta the you know sauteed greens with Lemon and salt And Um Then this is often used as a so this is Considered to be one of the most Medicinal plants here in North America There's so many medicinal plants there's Many most medicinal plants but this is Considered to be one of them and so this Is one of those being your food being Your medicine for sure but the other Commonly thing done with this is you Just So if I get stung by a bee because I'm a Beekeeper Well you can get stung by a bee if You're not a beekeeper but if you're a Beekeeper you're more likely to get Stung by bees more often what I do as I'll threw up a bunch of leaves

Give it a good chewing and then where I Got stung like if I was stung right here I'll take that this is called a poultice And I'll put that nice green Juiciness right onto the sting And In herbalism they say that this draws Out the toxins I don't know exactly what It's doing but what I've found is that If I do this after getting stung by a Honeybee If I do it within a couple of minutes I Barely swell it all and if I don't Sometimes I swell up like big because I Have what's called an extreme local Reaction so if I get stung right here Like I've had both my eyes closed I'm Not having like an allergic reaction Like that's you know could close up my Throat it's only local but by doing this It cannot swell hardly at all so it's a Wonderful medicine and you can do it Fresh Or you can dehydrate it and then mix it With honey and then put that as a paste On there and you like to keep it on for A good half hour or so either way and Then with the honey stuff You can just lick it right off Afterwards so it's a tasty medicine as Well and I didn't show a good example of It but Well let me see if I can do a little Better of a job because what you want to

Do So I'm taking like four leaves I got a nice chewing Okay [Applause] So There now see that nice green juice Coming out of there Like I'll see if I can drip it down like You see how green that is You've like chewed the green out of the Leaves and that's a poultice so that's a Very simple medicine that we can make Just with our own mouth our own saliva And the plants growing around us Like poison ivy or anything yeah so this Is used for other irritations I wouldn't Say it would be one for for poison ivy Another name for poison ivy is Sister Ivy because We don't call each other by our bad Characteristics as humans so it's a way To you know have more positive Association with plants Um so I tend to call it sister Ivy but I Don't know of it being used for sister Ivy or poison ivy but it's definitely For for any stings or scratches and Things like that it can be beneficial For those Other questions on plantago or plantain And it's not related to like plantains Like the banana Don't know why it has that same name

Yes Yes Narrow Leaf plantain broadleaf plantain Native or non-native all can be used in The same ways And again You'll find huge amounts of this and Sometimes the leaves are like this big Like they can get actually I've seen Leaves like that big in gardens you can Grow it in your garden but it grows all Over also noting that the seed heads are Also edible And what I like to do with the seeds is Actually Um like fry them up and they make a nice Garnish on your salad as well and when The seed heads are young and you can Like bite right through the stem the Whole seed head is edible and then when They're older that's when you strip the Seeds off and then you can fry those up For a garnish on your salad dressing So the next Plant I want to talk about Here is Oak so this is a white oak There's over there's about a hundred Species of Oaks in what we call the United States and Oak is one of the most Important plants to humanity so many of The indigenous people of what we call California uh were Acorn people up to 50 Percent or more than 50 percent of their Calories their food was the acorn people Have existed off of acorn one way that

You know how powerful it is is there's Very few Foods where the name of the Food is different from the plant itself The oak the acorn and so that shows just How important of a food this has been to Humanity there aren't really Acorn People today because Um the food culture has been stolen or Lost over the last hundreds of years by Most indigenous people so there aren't People that live on acorns today still But they still are an incredibly Important food what's ironic about them Is they are one of the most important Foods to humanity still because of a lot Of the animals that eat them so deer and Pigs and you know a lot of the animals That are still eaten today by people Are largely subsisting on acorns a lot Of the times Um but what's so ironic about it is that It's such an important food but 99 of People will just you know they'll see Them on the sidewalk and they'll just Step over them or drive their cars over Them on the road and never realize how Incredible of a food source they are I don't consider acorns to be Beginner foraging Just because they require some Processing and so how you process acorns Is you break them out of their shell And then you grind them up break them up And you put them in either boiling water

I guess there's a squirrel up there You put them in either boiling water or Cold water and what you're doing there Is you're leaching the tannins out so Acorns are toxic raw now you can Absolutely eat an acorn or a couple Acorns raw no problem they're just Really high in tannins and tannins can Actually be beneficial for us but if You're eating acorns as a sustenance or Any you know any amount really besides Just tasting some then you need to Remove the tannins and You can do that through a hot bath or Through a cold bath and through a hot Bath you you basically are boiling out The tannins Through a cold bath you have to do more Water changes but you don't have to use The you know the electricity or the or The or the you know the natural gas or The gas And so how it works is you're removing The tannins that are water soluble and After a certain number of baths Depending on the tree type you'll be Left with Acorn MASH which can be eaten Just like that and is wonderful Or you can dry that out and turn it into Acorn flour and then you can add that in With your Breads and your muffins and You know all sorts of things like that So Acorns are a wonderful staple food if

You want to like live off the land from Foraged food acorns are you know one of Your best friends they are an incredible Resource and there's so much food that Can come from them so there is a black Walnut tree at the end of this park And it is the one with the well it Actually is labeled because it was Devoted to someone so if you walked on This sidewalk on your way out you'll see A tree that has a plaque on it and you Can read it and it says black walnut and Black walnut has the leaves that are Basically sort of small and it's It's like it's what's called a leaf lit So it's a leaf that has many little Leaves on it and they black walnut Produces a green Husk and I wish I had some of those with Me but it's a green husk that's about Like this big a round ball it's got a Real unique smell to it if you pick it Up and scratch it it's got a strong Smell to it and so you'll find if you Start to look you'll see black walnut Growing all over the place And inside of those husks is the walnut Shell and inside of the shell is the nut Does anybody happen to have a hammer All right so there's no Hammer so There's no way we're getting this open Right now I would have loved to have Opened one to show you But inside of this is the nut meat and

So black walnut is something that you Can harvest in large quantities and you Can eat it really pretty easily like you Could just go out and experiment with This tomorrow or tonight and so how you Remove the husk you can just oop Acorn Fallen you can just Um leave the the nuts in the husk out to Rot for like a couple weeks and the husk Will rot right off or you can just put Them in a bag and smash that in the Ground on the ground to get the stuff Off You can either wait or you can do it More rapidly and then you're left with You'll have the the shells these can Store for years so you could hold on to These for years and just crack them open Through the winter and then you can just Eat the nut meat directly out of these They're generally better after letting Them sit like this for a couple of Months not in the heat like in your Basement or in your pantry or something Like that the flavor tends to improve They are generally most desired for Being used in baking rather than eating Fresh they have a flavor that people Don't a lot of people don't love Um so but they're prized for baking in Fact you can even buy black walnut at The store okay and I just mentioned Ginkgo which is from Japan also from Japan Japanese is the first word

Does that help anyone Japanese not weed have any of you heard Of that So this is considered to be a highly Invasive plant Um one thing I just want to say about Invasive plants is Um well two things the plant itself is Not evil they've been taken away from Their normal existence most of the time By Humanity often place there Intentionally by humanity and then Vilified so the plant itself is not Inherently bad or evil Now one of the great things we can do to Reduce invasives is we can actually eat Them unlike a lot of people who just Spray them with pesticides my way of Turning of working with invasives is to Actually eat them in permaculture There's a saying and that is the problem Is the solution Japanese knotweed is the Problem turn it into dinner as a Solution So The last 30 days I've I've eaten 100 Food that I've foraged myself and this Is going to be my first food that I Didn't forage this was given to me by a Wonderful forager named Issa in New Haven and these are Japanese knotweed That she foraged in apple cider vinegar So this is my first food now that the Month is over and I've never had

Knotweed before either so this is a new Food too Yay Let's start the tape Incredibly underwhelming But Um Let's pass it around everybody have one That would like to Stick your fingers in there I really I don't mind so it's all Everybody here is A human being who can make their own Choices of whether or not to stick their Fingers in there and eat one but there Is one for everyone no it's good but as Far as the first food I mean I think the apple cider vinegar Is stronger yeah mmm actually it's Getting a little better so Um so that's job that's not weed it's Definitely one to get to know you eat The shoots of that in the spring And it's it's definitely desirable Oh Um on that note I would like to just Share two things whoa the squirrels are Getting active I just like to share two Things before we finish for the evening And then Um I'll then well okay so Um as I mentioned earlier you know the This whole month of eating 100 from the

Land and being here and talking about Plants I would not be doing this if it Was just about plants I mean I love plants and it's wonderful to Harvest our food from the land but for Me this is about so much more this is About taking back power from a broken Food system and about creating Equitable Just regenerative Food Systems Food Systems where when we eat we're actually Giving back to the Earth rather than Taking from the earth and so this is Also about taking our power back and Knowing that we can find our food and Our medicine growing around us and that We don't need to have everything wrapped In plastic shipped around the world and That by connecting with with ourselves And with the resources around us we can Learn the skills that we need In order to break free from exploitative Oppressive systems and exist in a way That is actually beneficial to the Earth And then for me there's two things that I've really gathered over the last uh 10 Years I just realized that was sort of Like a pun I'm not really a pun guy Gathered foraging but anyway So there's two things that I've really Gathered over the last 10 years or so of Activism and just reconnecting with the Earth and uh as far as solutions to the World's problems and number one is Community

These systems are really designed to you Know we look at U.S American society and It's a system of individualism where the Idea is we all earn the dollar And then we can all buy everything we Need or pay for whatever service we need And then we don't need anybody else Independence and we we act like that as An American society as well that we Don't need anybody else and that the American society is the most important But to me I believe the solution to our To that is really Community the idea of Independence I think we're coming to see Is an illusion you know with the seven Or eight billion people that exist on This world we've realized that actually This is a tiny little Earth that we live On as Carl Sagan calls it a pale blue Dot and everybody on this Earth is Ultimately our neighbor So now that we know the Earth is so Small we realize that we have to work Together as a community in order to be Able to solve our problems and so for me Community is us that's here together It's us as a nation it's us with all of Our Global neighbors but we also need to Work together as a community with our Plant and animal relatives so my belief Is that most of our problems can be Solved through Community coming together Sharing our skills our knowledge our Resources and by doing that we can break

Free from the things that don't serve Our best interest as a society and as Individuals And then the other thing for me as it Comes down to biodiversity and diversity So when you look at ecosystems that Still function and amazingly through all Of the destruction that Humanity has Done the Earth still is here still Turning still producing these acorns Even on the U.S Capitol lawn how much Food did we just find and I don't even Know all of it by any means this is just Me a guy who's been doing this for five Years and what we were able to find in This day so All ecosystems that are truly Functioning are functioning through Millions well in each ecosystem Thousands or tens of thousands of Species interacting in millions and Billions of different ways that is the Definition of biodiversity and my belief Is that biodiversity is the solution to Our problems as far as having a Resilient Earth and it's also in our Gardens when we grow hundreds of Different plants they work together when There's a pest that that's eating the Kale it's okay because we have 98 or 99 Different plants that we can be eating And the same goes for Humanity When a society tries to say there's just One right way of doing things and

Everything else is wrong that's the Opposite of diversity and so to me Diversity is a diversity of thoughts A Diversity of different ways of coming About things and learning how we can Work together and sure there's ways that We're not going to get along and we're Not going to agree with each other but Learning how we can compassionately Communicate with each other and through Embracing that diversity in that Community You know figure out these problems that We have and find the solutions for how We can all get along on this beautiful Earth that we call home so I'm grateful For all of you being here today and Taking time to get to know some of our Plant relatives and learning more about How we can reconnect to the Earth and Break free from consumerism and Capitalism and colonialism and uh just Live joyous wonderful lives together And the last note is that equally Important as medicine for plants is hugs 12 hugs a day keeps the doctor away so I Love hugs and I'm happy to share with Everyone who would like and also hug Each other hugs are great and even if You do a 30 second hug it's supposedly Like Tunes your rhythm in and like just Releases Stress and Anxiety look at all The medicine we have right inside of our House inside of ourselves just with hugs

So I love you all very much and I'm so Happy to be here with all of you oh we Got a hug nice [Applause]