If you’ve noticed more people rooting around their yards for dandelion greens or picking fruit in the local park, there’s a good chance it’s because of Alexis Nikole Nelson. On TikTok, Nelson charms her 600,000-odd followers with raps about ethically foraging for ramps (or finding a substitute because, you know, they’re at risk of becoming endangered ); tips for telling the difference between Queen Anne’s lace and its evil twin, hemlock; and culinary delights like seaweed panna cotta . It’s enough to make you want to look around your own yard for field onions and hairy bittercress so you can whip up scallion pancakes. Nelson does this all with sustainability in mind, encouraging her followers to eat invasive and pervasive plants. For the uninitiated, foraging simply means identifying and gathering mushrooms, herbs, nuts, fruits and other food. Sure, you could go to your local grocery store, but foraging offers several advantages beyond being a great social-distancing activity. It means eating with the seasons, adding variety to your diet, and becoming less reliant on the agricultural industrial complex and monocropping that’s led to environmental disasters like the dust bowl. Get Grist in your inbox Always free, always fresh Ask your […]

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