Berkeley Open Source Food Week promotes foraging

Some people in Berkeley are taking eating local to the extreme.

Instead of just shopping at the farmers market for what's in season and grown near-by - they're eating what most of us would never consider food.

Since it's Berkeley Open Source Food Week KTVU's Gasia Mikaelian gave foraging a try. She had the guidance of the founder of Berkeley Open Source Food Philip Stark.

In the center median of Berkeley's Shattuck Avenue Stark looked at the ground to find lunch - or at least the beginnings of it.

"These are precious greens," said Stark. "A lot of what's missing from our diet is micronutrients and fiber - just a handful or two of this stuff a day can make a difference."

Various restaurants are featuring foraged greens on their menus to introduce the idea to curious eaters.

Stark says "food" that pops up on its own is more nutritious then what's in the store. He says that's because today's supermarket greens have been bred for mild taste and texture at the cost of nutrition.

Everything Gasia and Phillip ate was safe. It had just rained so Stark was pretty sure it was clean.

"The first question most people have about dog pee. It's water soluble, it's non-toxic. A dog would have to be really, really sick for it to be dangerous. And the chance that this particular thing got peed on is pretty low."

Stark points out that organic produce is fertilized with manure and people pay a premium for it.
At the very least Stark wants people to remember where food comes from before we see it in a plastic bag, or stacked in a perfect pyramid at the store.
Locals should note that foraging is technically not legal. You can only eat what's growing on your own land. But, Stark says he's never heard of anyone getting busted for foraging for greens anywhere in the Bay Area.

He is leading a discovery walk in Berkeley this Saturday for those who want to learn how to identify edible plants.