Sat, Jun 5 at noon | 75
| This Olio was designed by Think Olio Curatorial Fellow, Claire Moodey.
Olios: Drop-in classes led by professors
Contemporary foraging, while rooted in ancestral survival skills, tends to reflect the capitalist fetish for scarcity--the rarest or most difficult to procure are the most highly valued. Put another way, some of the most precarious species in the edible ecosystem face their greatest threat from their human market value, while so-called "invasive species" go unharvested despite their many delights. For example, ramps (Allium tricoccum), which can take up to 7 years to reach maturity and reproduce in vernal woodlands with specific soil ecology, are uprooted en mass and trucked long distances each year to sate the urban appetite for foraged foods. Meanwhile, wild garlic (Allium vineale), which grows indiscriminately in wild, suburban, and urban ecosystems alike (and can even be found growing up green through winter snows!) is an uncommon sight in most kitchens.
In this Olio we will interrogate the categories of "native" and "invasive" species, considering their inaptness from a scientific, political, and cultural lens. We will learn identifying characteristics of five freely found "weeds" in our ecosystem, and how they can be used for food, medicine, and art. We will cover foraging safety, specifically in an urban context, and the potential role of introduced species in establishing food sovereignty. And we will ask, how can revamping the language we use for introduced species shift our relationship with them from one of fear or hatred to one of curiosity and appreciation for abundance? What culinary horizons could we explore if we set out to be the natural predators that introduced species currently lack?
Chris Baker is a certified mushroom forager, gardener, full-time parent, and founder of Chicory Naturalist, an online resource for budding naturalists of all ages. She has an M.A. in Social Sciences from the University of Chicago with a focus on the cultural ramifications of shifting food systems, and a diverse range of professional experience in the culinary, arts, and agricultural fields.
Zoom link will be sent upon signup.
This Olio was designed by Think Olio Curatorial Fellow, Claire Moodey.