My First Foray into Foraging

As part of the The Middle Kingdom of Weeds Festival (World Wide Festival of Psychogeography and Foraging 2011) I met up with a group of people to do a wander around Amsterdam Sloterdijk and forage for food. The walk also had a caloric analysis angle, wherein we’d weigh what we had foraged at the end and contrast that with the calories expended by foraging. The walk was hosted by Wilfried Hou Je Bek and Theun Karelse.

We used one of Wilfried’s .walk algorithms to direct our walking pattern. We each had a piece of paper with the algorithm on it, which was loosely based on the behaviour of the ghosts in Pac-Man. Embodying the spirit of Blinky, Inky, Pinky, and Clyde, we ventured off in search of things to eat in among the underpasses, roundabouts, highrises and industrial estates of this area of Amsterdam. I’ll admit, I was a little sceptical that we would find anything tasty.

But in the end, we did. We found numerous edible green things, including an abundance of wild rocket. Our teams also found a cousin of garlic, wild carrot, unripe sloeberries, and places where raspberry plants were thriving (but no berries today, unfortunately). We mapped some of these finds on the Boskoi Android app so other foragers can find these things.

We met back with the other team at the station and tallied up our goods. We determined that if we had to live off the day’s haul, we’d certainly starve. Key to better nutrition would be getting our hands on some nuts and berries, and adding a little hunting and fishing to the mix. I took some of the wild rocket home and was keen to eat it for lunch, and also compare it to the bag of rocket I had just purchased at Albert Heijn the day before.

Taste testing revealed that the store-bought rocket was considerably milder in flavour than the wild rocket, which had a wonderfully peppery bite. I sautéed the wild rocket with a bit of olive oil and some of the garlic-like stuff we had harvested. Very, very delicious. I think I might have to go back and forage some more.

View all photos here.