San Francisco

Wild Food Week Highlights Edible Weeds Going to Waste

Wild Food Week, running through April 10, is meant to highlight how many edible plants currently go to waste in the Bay Area.

The idea is the brainchild of San Francisco restaurateurs Karen Leibowitz and Anthony Myint and UC Berkeley professors Philip Stark, Kristen Rasmussen, and Tom Carlson. Leibowitz and Myint are partners in the successful restaurants Mission Chinese Food and Commonwealth, and will soon open The Perennial, an eatery serving produce grown aquaponically in a greenhouse they're buiding in Oakland. Stark, Rasmussen, and Carlson run an organization called Berkeley Open Source Food.

Organizers say up to 40 percent of edible plants on farms are classified as weeds that are grown and then never eaten, but with exposure and education, these plants could be integrated into the food system. A series of dinners this week at Chez Panisse, Mission: Heirloom, and Mission Chinese Food (the latter a preview for The Perennial) are showcasing many of these plants and their delicious potential.

The team has also created a foraging field guide called "The Bay Area's Baker's Dozen Wild Greens" which is making its debut during Wild Food Week.

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