Enjoy Park Greenery, City Says, but Not as Salad

 

Enjoy Park Greenery, City Says, but Not as Salad

Todd Heisler/The New York Times

Leda Meredith, right, who wrote a book about eating locally on a budget, leads tours in Prospect Park about foraging.

By LISA W. FODERARO
Published: July 29, 2011

 

Maybe it is the spiraling cost of food in a tough economy or the logical next step in the movement to eat locally. Whatever the reason, New Yorkers are increasingly fanning out across the city’s parks to hunt and gather edible wild plants, like mushrooms, American ginger and elderberries.

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Todd Heisler/The New York Times

Ruby Harris, 9, of Brooklyn, inspecting an edible plant on a foraging tour of Prospect Park.

Now parks officials want them to stop. New York’s public lands are not a communal pantry, they say. In recent months, the city has stepped up training of park rangers and enforcement-patrol officers, directing them to keep an eye out for foragers and chase them off.

“If people decide that they want to make their salads out of our plants, then we’re not going to have any chipmunks,” said Maria Hernandez, director of horticulture for the Central Park Conservancy, the nonprofit group that manages Central Park.

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