Here are the rules of the game: “Be considerate. Avoid breaking branches or pulling up plants by the roots, and spread out your foraging so that it includes several plants and areas. Never take so much that the plant can’t recover, and be sure to leave enough for the next person.” Foraging requires a deep knowledge of ones surroundings and an eye for detail that has been largely forgotten since supermarkets became our main source of food stuffs. But after making a name for himself transforming local, seasonal ingredients into sublime cuisine, Rene Redzepi of the Copenhagen restaurant Noma today announces VILD MAD or “Wild Food,” a platform for reinvigorating this ancient tradition by educating the Danish public about foraging. The program includes a website and an app, a curriculum for Danish schools and foraging workshops led by 50 trained park rangers around the country.
Announced at the 50 Best Restaurants Talks in Barcelona, the program provides a comprehensive approach to education. The website and the app are subdivided into four sections: Landscapes, Ingredients, Recipes and Get Outdoors, each providing in-depth information that, like Redzepi’s approach to food, is prioritized by season. The app shares what’s currently in season and its encyclopedia of ingredients is organized by types: berries, flowers, herbs, leaves, mushrooms, seaweed and more. The welcome screen on the app lays out the team’s mission: This is your foraging app. Foraging is a tradition, as old as humankind, of gathering wild foods such as herbs, berries, and fruits in nature.
“Foraging helped shape the flavors and philosophy of noma’s kitchen, and we believe it can be an incredible tool for people to become acquainted with the landscape; discover new flavors and ingredients; and start new conversations about where food comes from,” the team writes. July’s bounty includes dishes like pickled daisy flowers, grilled meat with mugwort and apple muffins with ground ivy. Each recipe indicates what equipment you might need, time it takes to make and difficulty as well as a focus on the chef or forager that originated the recipe.
Those interested in the project can signup for a foraging trip through VILD MAD and join in on a citywide celebration on August 27th in Copenhagen. Until then, happy foraging!