Creating map of edible weed sites

Otago Polytechnic communication design third year students (from left) Liam Hook, Jenah Ferguson and Daniel Hunsche are creating a "foraging" resource for Dunedin residents to source edible weeds. PHOTO: GRETA YEOMAN
Otago Polytechnic communication design third year students (from left) Liam Hook, Jenah Ferguson and Daniel Hunsche are creating a "foraging" resource for Dunedin residents to source edible weeds. PHOTO: GRETA YEOMAN

A group of Otago Polytechnic students are on the hunt for Dunedin locations with edible weeds and surplus produce to create a ‘‘foraging’’ map.

Otago Polytechnic communication design third year student Jenah Ferguson said her group was creating the resource as part of an assignment to encourage interaction between people over a city asset.

A variety of environmental ideas were pitched to the class and Miss Ferguson’s group ended up with the ‘‘Roots Project’’ — a chance for people to help provide locations where foraging for food around the city was acceptable.

From highlighting which weeds were edible to pinpointing roadside fruit trees and community vegetable gardens, the resource would also be of benefit to the creators, Miss Ferguson said, as she had been interested in cooking with weeds for a while but had been unsure how to or what to pick.

Classmate and fellow group member Daniel Hunsche said one of the project’s aims was to limit the environmental impacts of food waste, both from the uneaten food and the ‘‘carbon dioxide footprints’’ of goods that may have travelled across the country or globe before arriving at a supermarket.

Miss Ferguson said the resource would detail what weeds — such as dandelions and yarrow — were able to be eaten and when they were at the right stage to be eaten.

Roadside fruit trees, community gardens and other spaces with excess fruit or vegetables, including the polytechnic’s Living Campus garden would end up on the interactive map — especially if Dunedin residents were happy to state when and where they had excess produce they were happy for people to come and take, she said.

The resource would also include details of when the produce would be at a good stage to pick or dig up, as people were often wary of taking produce if they did not know when it was at the right stage to be picked, she said.

Group member Liam Hook said the group hoped the resource would encourage more participation in community gardens or the creation of more.

He said it would also be creating events to do foraging walks and hopefully would be organising a taste-testing event — using only foraged food — in the coming weeks.

Miss Ferguson said they hoped to create a paper resource in addition to the interactive map and website.

* If residents want to add a foraging site or community garden to the map, email danieljh@windowslive.com.

After the foraging map is up and running, residents will eventually be able to add their own sites and information to the site.

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