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Gathering "wild" food in the city: rethinking the role of foraging in urban ecosystem planning and management

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McLain, Rebecca J.; Hurley, Patrick T.; Emery, Marla R.; Poe, Melissa R.

Year Published

2014

Publication

Local Environment:The International Journal of Justice and Sustainability. 19(2): 220-240.

Abstract

Recent "green" planning initiatives envision food production, including urban agriculture and livestock production, as desirable elements of sustainable cities. We use an integrated urban political ecology and human-plant geographies framework to explore how foraging for "wild" foods in cities, a subversive practice that challenges prevailing views about the roles of humans in urban green spaces, has potential to also support sustainability goals. Drawing on research from Baltimore, New York City, Philadelphia, and Seattle, we show that foraging is a vibrant and ongoing practice among diverse urban residents in the USA. At the same time, as reflected in regulations, planning practices, and attitudes of conservation practitioners, it is conceptualised as out of place in urban landscapes and an activity to be discouraged. We discuss how paying attention to urban foraging spaces and practices can strengthen green space planning and summarise opportunities for and challenges associated with including foragers and their concerns.

Citation

McLain, Rebecca J.; Hurley, Patrick T.; Emery, Marla R.; Poe, Melissa R. 2014. Gathering "wild" food in the city: rethinking the role of foraging in urban ecosystem planning and management. Local Environment: The International Journal of Justice and Sustainability. 19(2): 220-240. https://doi.org/10.1080/13549839.2013.841659.

Last updated on: October 7, 2014