on the kind on sweeping statements facebook is full of

Facebook became the platform you work with the most this days, for a number of reasons.
Firstly because as a cultural producer you engage with media where it is most active, starting from a couple of years back when you embarked in the WeedBook project, a page and collaborative adventure with the input from a bunch of writers from all over the world creating profiles for a number of common plants (ahem.. weeds) so that people could actually become friends (although virtually) and engage with the botany most close to us, the ones living in our cracks and under our feet. The profiles are still very active, some writer left the scene but mostly are kept ‘virtually’ alive and present in people’s reality>> see the list on the right shoulder of this blog.
Secondly because it is -by far- the most reactive and socially inclusive of all platforms this days, with real people responding to posts in real time. Exchange in Facebook happens at high levels.
With this in mind you made a facebook page for the latest project, Wild Stories, a unified concept under which you offer and co-present walks, workshops, dinner, tastings, adventures and storytelling.

Below is one of those sweeping statements facebook’s full of. 12 Best Wild Edibles of Australia. Of course it is not a complete list, of course not all of the featured species are available through-out the continent. Of course we could argue for days on the merits or demerits of this or that plant, but ay, let’s not forget the point: Wild Stories are all around us, they here to stay and above all, they are far too often disregarded.

Posted in ethnobotany, foraging, Recipe, weedbook, WeedyConnection, wide weeds debate, Wild Stories | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

On Foraging Mulberries, Dock and Fennel

Joel Werner host a very interesting program on ABC Radio, Off Track.
It is always interesting to get to talk to a producer and/or host, as you can then understand better the selection of interviews and the range of topics they cover in their programs.

As he explained, he tries to leverage on perceptions and expectations. Far too often programs and speakers dealing with environmental issues -the classic sustainability cauldron, where everything and anything gets thrown in- tend to be dry (boring), evangelistic (preaching), and advocating for ‘golden solutions’ (absolutists)..

So it was great fun to spend the morning with Joel, strolling up the Wolli Creek, joyfully chatting, picking at plants and tasting them, on our way to check on a mulberry tree.
The resulting interview beams freshness, light and simplicity, exactly what ‘building new awareness’ should be all about>>

Listen on,
thanks Joel

Posted in craft, Cultural diversity, foraging, wide weeds debate, Wild Stories | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Making a cookbook about foraging? yes please

Here’e the work of a group of people from New York, who with verve and good humor is offering a new way to look at the botany living around us.


Great the statement “So why the focus on foraging? Well, we have to say a bit about spurse. We’re a collective of systems thinkers, and designers who’ve spent the last decade researching how humans and their environments shape each other. We’ve done fieldwork in many remote hunting, fishing and mining communities and along the we’d often all stop to gather a spontaneous meal. This led us to see foraging — what some of us still remember our grandparents doing — is neither quaint nor exotic — it’s how we change from being shoppers to stewards, activist, foodies, and ecologists without realizing it. It’s crucial to transforming us, our perceptions, and our fundamental engagements with the world.”

Read an article here or check out their blog here

Glorious intents, it reminds you of Antonio Carluccio Goes Wild coobook, only a little more grunge

Posted in ethnobotany, foraging, Other's Weeds Art, Recipe, wide weeds debate | Tagged , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

On foraging and Videos, a poetic response

From Alex and Clare :)

Pioneers from vdmalex on Vimeo.

2010 we attended a ‘Weed Tour’ of Sydney Park, hosted by local artist Diego Bonetto as part of the Museum of Contemporary Art’s major exhibition ‘In The Balance: Art for a Changing World’. Diego introduced us to his friends – dandelion, wild mustard, sowthistle and more, unjustly categorised as weeds despite their various culinary and medicinal values. We came to understand these species not as weeds, but as Pioneers, colonising and breaking the bare ground left exposed by human intervention.

We came to appreciate our local environment in a new light – seeing every verge, every overgrown lot, every forgotten space as bountiful gardens and potential smorgasbords. We set out on our bikes to see what edible goodies we could find.

Alex Papasavvas and Clare Devlin-Mahoney.

Please note that we had positively identified each plant species as safe prior to consumption. Don’t eat anything unless you know exactly what it is. and be careful of polluted or contaminated soil

Posted in craft, ethnobotany, foraging, Other's Weeds Art, Wild Stories | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

What happen on the foraging tours?

This account below came from Kristy, a lovely WWOOFER from Uk who recently attended the Wild Food Master Class along the Cooks river.

The brochure just handed to me, ‘Stop Mowing Your Lawns Australia, Eat Them!’ says it all – reconfirming I was exactly where I wanted to be on this beautiful sunny Saturday morning; an entertaining adventure delving into the mysteriously forgotten garden that is lying in abundance right under our noses! Taking steps towards a self sustainable dream of foraging fresh free organic produce with knowledge and awareness their amazing benefits – a conscious connection with my surroundings.

Like with anything, I’m soon to remember that delving into new worlds can be quite overwhelming – so much new information – the lack of experience contributing to most of the plants looking a very green leafy similar.

With 19 other keen weed eating wannabes it was an intense day of keeping up; getting time with each plant, to touch, smell and maybe a taste – jotting down names (Latin and common), edibility, cooking methods, health benefits and interesting stories along the way! Diego is a fountain of knowledge and you don’t want to spill a drop!

A picture says a thousand words and getting a snap of the plant with the name in shot was priceless in trying to sift through the sprawling notes afterwards. Ultimately, a desire to become fluent in the language of weeds takes practice – use it or lose it! So now it’s not just remembering to stop and smell the roses, it’s remembering to take time to notice and practice identifying these wonderful plants, to reel off names and benefits if I want to hold on this new knowledge and put it to good use.

It was a priceless day, but no walk in the park!

Thanks Kristy!

Posted in foraging, wide weeds debate | Tagged , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Media for Wild Stories, reaching the local audience

Get out there: Diego Bonnetto (pictured) is teaching Liverpudlians how to get back to nature, and save some money on the next grocery bill. Picture: Luke Fuda

Artist shares wild idea

21 Mar, 2012 South West Advertiser

EVERYDAY plants found in your backyard could have health and medicinal benefits.
Diego Bonnetto, an artist with a love of all things botanical, has developed a movement within the local community to encourage foraging for wild plants.

The artist is working in partnership with the Casula Powerhouse Arts Centre to deliver the Wild Stories exhibition this December.

Mr Bonnetto will host a range of workshops throughout the year to encourage the broader community to create their own Wild Stories through foraging in the local environment, cooking classes, skill sharing and story-telling.

Originally of Italian decent, Mr Bonnetto said the aim of the project was to bring people back to nature.

“I migrated to this country 20 years ago,” he said.

“Back in Italy it was normal for us or family members to pick wild mushrooms or herbs.

“Today’s foraging is not going to provide you with enough to feed or support you but it will give you a relationship with the land.”

Mr Bonnetto said sourcing food from the land was not isolated to indigenous groups.

“We are losing ancient herbal remedies and recipes and becoming disconnected with the environment,” he said. “We need to reassess how we live in the environment.”

Follow the project on this blog
or on facebook here

Posted in Cultural diversity, ethnobotany, foraging, Other's Weeds Art, wide weeds debate | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

dandelion coffe

collecting the rootbag of dandysrootrootswashed, drained and cubedRoasting

dandelion coffe, a set on Flickr.

A step by step procedure on how to make dandelion coffee, from field to cup

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

on the common amaranth

It is everywhere around here, green amaranth, amaranthus viridis.
It is a declared environmental weed in some places and a prized food in others, see what wikipedia has to say:


Amaranthus viridis is eaten traditionally as a vegetable in South India, especially in Kerala, where it is known as “Kuppacheera”.
In Greece it is called vlita and is one of the varieties of “horta” or greens known in Greek cuisine which are boiled and served with olive oil and lemon.
It is also eaten as a vegetable in parts of Africa. A traditional food plant in Africa, this little-known vegetable has potential to improve nutrition, boost food security, foster rural development and support sustainable landcare.
In Jamaica it is eaten as a vegetable and is known locally as callaloo (not to be confused with callaloo of most other countries).
Amaranthus viridis is used as a medicinal herb in traditional Ayurvedic medicine, under the Sanskrit name Tanduliya.

also known as:
English: Slender Amaranth, Green Amaranth, Pakai
Español: Amaranto Verde, Bledo Verde, Bleo, Moco Pavo
Fiji Hindi: Choraiya
Français: Amarante Verte
lea faka-Tonga: tupu?a, longolongo?uha
Português: Caruru

It is one of the subjects for the current project you’re involved in, Wild Stories, which looks at the traditional knowledge inhabiting our surroundings in the form of plants >>

Map from Australia Virtual Herbarium

Posted in Cultural diversity, wide weeds debate | Tagged , , , , , | 1 Comment