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IFCAE Project:

Urban Foraging


Timeframe:  2008-2012
Project Lead:   Melissa Poe, Rebecca McLain
Research Assistant: Lauren Urgenson, Joyce LeCompte-Mastenbrook
2011 Summer Intern Sylvia Gozdek
Administration: Institute for Culture and Ecology
Core Planning Team:

Susan Charnley, U.S. Forest Service, PNW Research Station
Marla Emery, U.S. Forest Service, Northern Research Station
Patrick Hurley, Ursinus College
Rebecca McLain, Institute for Culture and Ecology
Melissa Poe, Institute for Culture and Ecology
Project Overview Urban ecosystems provide a number of ecological and socio-economic benefits. The Seattle Urban NTFP Foraging & Gathering Study expands knowledge of how people interact with urban nature through their foraging practices and the implications of those interactions for social and ecological resiliency of cities. Specifically, this study will examine: the diversity of plants & fungi gathered in Seattle, the characteristics of people who gather or forage; the social, economic and cultural importance of gathering; the attributes of places where gathering occurs; the ways gatherers steward plants, fungi and places, or engage with urban forest planning and restoration activities. We use qualitative social science methods coupled with GIS to collect and analyze data on urban gathering of plants and fungi (including NTFPs such as edible mushrooms, tree bark, leaves, mosses, berries, and tree fruit). This project has the potential to link planners, land managers and gatherers in ways that builds new bridges for urban green space management that not only supports a diversity of environmental stewardship activities, but also supports broader initiatives of environmental justice.
Additional Collaborators:

Nate Gabriel (Rutgers University), Laura Brody (Ursinus College), Lindsay Campbell (U.S. Forest Service, New York City Field Station), 
Bryant Smith, (U.S. Forest Service, New York City Field Station), Erika Svendsen (U.S. Forest Service, New York City Field Station), Diane Besser (Institute for Culture and Ecology), Kate McFarland (University of Oregon), and

Elizabeth Barron (Rutgers University), Lita Buttolph (Institute for Culture and Ecology), Jamie Hebert (Institute for Culture and Ecology), Jenna Tilt (Independent consultant)

Funding: USFS Pacific Northwest Research Station, Northern Research Station, American Recovery and Reinvestment Act.


Read about our work in Seattle!

Foraging, Gathering and Stewardship in Seattle's Urban Ecosystems (pdf file)

Foraging WIld Foods in Urban Spaces (website - UW Anthropology Newsletter)

Urban Foragers Cropping Up in the U.S. (website - National Geographic Green Guide)

Local Nourishing Nettles (website - Urban Farm Hub)

Fungi Foraging in Seattle and Beyond (website - Urban Farm Hub)

Urban Foraging:  A Look at the Deep Connections Between People and Ecosystems in Seattle (website - Urban Farm Hub)