Challenging Scarcity

Tim Vireo Keating

A Couple of weeks ago I joined Tim Vireo Keating on one of his city forages in Prospect Park, Brooklyn.

Tim leads regular events in New York highlighting the abundance that is all around us. His passion is for the wild edibles that nature delivers free to those ready to look and gather.

We didn’t need to look too far.  As if to make the point we stopped just 10 yards inside park gate. Here with the sound of traffic still clear Tim pointed out an impressive variety of common edible plants to be picked for free. Weeds to many of us these plants are packed with nutrients and can help to cleanse and detoxify the body. Venturing further into the park we picked and ate leaves straight from a Sassafras tree, delish! Then we harvested a few young roots from its multitude offshoots to make Sassafras tea to accompany our dinner that night.

In a break from gathering Tim explained some of his passion for foraging. He loves bringing people into the park to show them an alternative to the idea that the earth’s resources are running out. A view he believes is the misconception that leads us to compete for dominance over food, energy and land. His experience has led him to observe that in functioning communities when resources are plentiful the impulse is to share. We just need to see what’s under our noses. He recalled how on finding a sack of perfectly good but out of date tomatoes on the sidewalk his first thought was how he could make a fantastic spaghetti sauce to feed all his chums. “When nature gives in abundance we need to find ways to receive it, adapting and living according to its cycle. It’s way of thinking many of us have lost, he says. We’ve been conditioned to demand what we want, when we want it, from the earth rather than accepting what it gives in plenty.” With bags full of greens he set off to add his harvest to the dinner in the making at ‘Grub’ a community dinner in Brooklyn.

I joined them later, a friendly bunch of anarchic kids in an industrial unit madly decorated with recycled materials and smelling of great food. Together with Tim’s wild edibles there was a banquet of food lifted from the bins of grocery stores, out of date but cooked with love and tasting delicious!

Watch the short film from Grub ! “First the Dishes, then the Revolution!”

If you’re in New York I recommend you join one of Tim’s forages contact him on

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