This has been a really good year so far for foraging and wildcrafting. I’ve learnt loads about various uses of common plants and found some good spots to collect from as well as spending a bit more time processing the crop so that what I get can actually be of some practical everyday use.
I’ve discovered loads of mugwort and comfrey growing near me in Paris, as well a few other spots where wild mint has been sticking out the pavement or crabapple trees are leaning over the fences of abandoned houses. Most of it seems to be on unkept verges and brownland. Abandoned urban areas such as these are amazing places to find local biodiversity, it’sa case of ecological niches at the edge of human settlement, wild rocket peeping out of pavement cracks, fat hen in overgrown gardens. Itsnot truely naturalbecause these are arteficial environements but I think it shows how sometimes the best thing we can do for the ecology is just let it be. Urban ecology and roof garden type initatives tend to lean toward a very controled version of nature, and can be linked to the gentrification of a neighbourhood-usually meaning more building works and the privatisation of private space. Bownland might appear unsightly but it’s vital in maintaining urban biodiversity, and it maintains a sense of the wild and uncontrollable, unsurveilled, in places which are becoming more and more like open prisons or non-places.
I’ve started a basic pin map kf my areashowing some of the things growing wild. For the most part it’s all stuff along railway tracks, I guess because these places go untended long enough that plants can become established. I’ve only added one nettle spot but obviously nettles are evrywhere, and are awesome!