Have you wondered about an apple tree and thought, can I pick one and eat it? If you’re lucky to live in Portland, you can find that out; you can ask your neighbor; and there’s some motivated people who have already met the neighbors and created Urban Edibles, a wiki with all the fruits, nuts, and edible plants in Portland. There’s a lot of available food in the city: apples, pears, plums, figs, walnuts, hazelnuts, blackberries, and abandoned garden beds.
Michael Bunsen is the founder and web designer of Urban Edibles. He had the idea for a couple years and as his web designing skills developed, he asked his friends to get involved. “When I moved to Portland,” Carly Boyer tells me, “I happened to live with Julie Noble who was getting involved in the project. I had just come from a year-long apprenticeship in herbalism in Eugene. So it was just a natural fit, and my good friend Bobby got involved.” Bobby Smith does work with Portland Parks and Recreation: park rangering, environmental restoration, and education for youth interested in native plants.
The first and most important native plant is Oregon Grape, our state flower, planted alongside government buildings, corporate landscaping, and apartment complexes. “It looks similar to Holly, except it’s not quite as shinny and jagged. This plant is an amazing anti-bacterial, anti-biotic, alterative,” Boyer states. “An alterative stimulates the bodies own immune response. If you catch a cold, your body would respond – but the alterative quickens the process.” Continue reading