The art of foraging goes back to our hunter-gatherer days, but most of us don’t spend much time any more walking the neighborhood looking for edible weeds and fruit trees. That’s changing, though, as many try to simplify and take advantage of food that’s available for the taking in our yards, parks, and other green spaces. It’s also a way to save a little grocery money if you really want your family to eat well, but are also looking for ways to cut expenses.
But where do find these tasty treasures? Sure, weeds will spring up with the change in seasons, but how about an apple tree? A mushroom patch (that’s safe for eating)? Way back in the days before the web, I’m sure there must’ve been word-of-mouth networks for foragers; now, there are crowdsourced maps online that anyone can use to find fruit, nuts, greens, and other wild goodies.
After digging around for a while, I’ve discovered these eleven online maps that allow foragers to not only take advantage of bounty that others have discovered, but to also share their finds. Most use Google Maps, so you only need a Google account to participate fully in the hunt for wild edibles.
11 Crowdsourced Maps for Urban Foraging
- Falling Fruit: I don’t know if FallingFruit.org is the oldest of foraging maps, but it’s definitely among the most thorough: many cities around the US and the rest of the world are represented here (yes, even us, St. Louis!).
- Edible Cities: Another mega-map, Edible Cities requires just a bit more understanding of Google Maps (because they don’t appear to have a separate index of locations).
- Fruits of the Hood: A much more modest effort than those above, but one that’s working, Fruits of the Hood started in Raleigh, North Carolina, and now has edibles mapped in a variety of Southeastern locations (as well as Pennsylvania and Oregon).
- Urban Edibles: Focused on Portland, Oregon, this “cooperative network of wild food foragers” has spread beyond the city limits, and even up to Seattle.
- Canberra Urban Foraging: This very focused map shares locations of wild edibles, fruit trees, etc., in Canberra, Australia.
- Hackney Harvest: Even more focused, this fruit tree map focuses on London’s Hackney borough. Submissions to this one have to go through the administrators.
- Boise’s Urban Foods Map: And just in case you’re thinking this is purely a Coastal hipster thing, here’s a map of forageable plants in Boise, Idaho…
- Boskoi Urban Edibles App: Sure, you can pull up Google Maps on your phone… or you can download Boskoi, an app specifically for foraging. This Android app was developed in Amsterdam, so there’s a definite European focus in the finds.
- Street Fare: Focused on Santa Monica, California, this map is organized around species of fruit and nut trees.
- Denver Fruit Map: The developers here went one step further and created original markers that look like the fruits themselves. There’s also a companion map for Boulder.
- New Zealand Fruit and Food Share Map: For Kiwi foragers, here’s a map of “under-utilised food” around the country.
I went with what I found through some focused searching, but no doubt missed some good resources. If you know of others, let us know about them.