Submission Date

7-24-2015

Document Type

Paper

Department

Environmental Studies

Faculty Mentor

Patrick Hurley

Comments

Presented during the 17th Annual Summer Fellows Symposium, July 24, 2015 at Ursinus College.

Project Description

Urban foraging is the practice in which city residents gather plants and plant parts from green spaces—such as parks, sidewalks, or yards—to use for a variety of reasons. Research on the practice is in its early stages, with key questions in need of further research, including who participates, why they participate, and how they initially engage the practice. Existing research suggests most foragers consume what they gather for food, however, many also use materials for medicinal or craft-related purposes. Foraging meet-up tours appear to be a popular way for urban dwellers to learn about and engage in this practice. This summer I focused on both how these tours function to promote foraging and people’s motivations for attending them. I attended 4 meet-up tours and interviewed 15 foragers recruited from the tours about their foraging experience. In addition, I was interested to analyze how foraging meet-ups have evolved over the past two years. Thus, I looked at each individual foraging meet-up from the past two years on an urban foraging meet-up site—Wild Foodies of Philadelphia—to determine the dynamics of these tours compared to the ones I attended this summer. Using this methodology, I was able to better understand the community of practice among urban foragers in Philadelphia, This information will inform an expansion of the research to include multiple cities across the USA and even across the globe.

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