So I’ve just arrived in Dunedin and I want to find some wild foods. Where do I start? Here is something that my friend Mathias showed me.
This shows fruit trees and other edible plants all over New Zealand. The map is a wiki: meaning anyone can add and edit information. There are other versions, including the global falling fruit, but this had less tags around Dunedin.
So I set out with Ellen, a classmate who has apparently followed me al the way from Canberra, where we did our Undergrad degrees together at ANU. We headed out to Ravensbourne and found the blackberries straight away.
Should we be excited to find those here in Dunedin? They are so delicious that I have to say yes! But they are not native to New Zealand. Hmmm. The question reminds me of a bumper sticker I saw the other day. It read
The only true wilderness is between a greenies ears
I kind of like it, and well, agree. One of the big questions that conservation faces today is how far to wind back the clock to find the ideal or goal state of nature. We have to accept that humanity has made its mark on the planet, but still decide what state we want things in, which has to include places which are some approximation of wilderness. (For a counterargument which I don’t agree with see Earth is not a Garden).
Inside the city of Dunedin where we have houses, roads and exotic gardens is a place where we should embrace productive greenery. Luckily in the case of blackberries, they do pretty poorly in native forests where they aren’t welcome, and do best in already highly altered landscapes.
But maybe all that is just convenient – they were definitely delicious.
If you are going foraging yourself using this map, be aware that interface didn’t work with directions my iPhone, but here’s a fix: find the coordinates of where you want to go by clicking on the tag (i.e. -45.86491, 170.5605), copy these into your standard maps app and go from there. At Dunedin’s latitude, co-ordinates to five decimal places are precise to within 79cm. Not bad!