How to forage in our cities

13 September 2017 2 minute read

It’s urban food fortnight, time to appreciate the bountiful harvest that our cities have to offer. But strolling around a city, you don’t often see free, foragable foods, do you? Or are you just not looking hard enough? Our Digital Marketing Coordinator (and the best cake chef at Trees for Cities HQ), Beth, decided to go on a little urban ramble, to see how easy ‘urban foraging’ is and how to pin down a fruity find. It turns out, it’s pretty easy! Here are Beth’s tips for getting started:

Do some research

I started by checking what’s in season and deciding what I wanted to go on a hunt for, I chose, Blackberries! I found lots of useful guides and maps online, but a good technique was to search on Twitter for my fruit and location, to see who else had been foraging and where.

Here are some useful resources that I found:

Fruit City – They’ve got a great map of urban fruit around the UK
Time Out’s blog – There’s a few posts on here about what to pick and where to find it

Seek out some green space

I had a rough location now, but was still apprehensive that I would be able to bus to a random spot in London and find a harvest of blackberries. So, I had a look on the map and selected somewhere densely green.

Go on the hunt

I jumped on the bus and headed towards my chosen location. It seemed that as soon as I was looking for berries, there they were! I hadn’t got any further than crossing the road from the bus stop when straight away, I found a blackberry bush. I have no doubt I usually would have walked straight past, all you need to do is take a little more notice of what our cities have to offer. After a little more exploring, I found a whole ocean of blackberries.

Start picking

The fun bit, foraging for the berries. I picked only the ripe berries and made sure not to strip the branches, it’s important to leave some for the local wildlife populations. There are a few important points to remember:

  1. Never uproot a plant or tree when foraging
  2. Make sure you are certain that what you’re picking is what you think it is
  3. Wash everything you find

Don’t waste them

It’s easy to make good use of anything you’ve foraged. Eat them straight or turn them into something delicious, and you can can freeze things like berries if you think you’re not going to get through them all.

Have you got any blackberries from this season? Check out our recipe for blackberry jam.

Donate to Trees for Cities and together we can help cities grow into greener, cleaner and healthier places for people to live and work worldwide.