In this engaging and eye-opening read, forager-journalist Becky Lerner sets out on a quest to find her inner hunter-gatherer in the city of Portland, Oregon. After a disheartening week trying to live off wild plants from the streets and parks near her home, she learns the ways of the first people who lived there and, along with a quirky cast of characters, discovers an array of useful wild plants hiding in plain sight. As she harvests them for food, medicine, and just-in-case apocalypse insurance, Lerner delves into anthropology, urban ecology and sustainability, and finds herself looking at Nature in a very different way.
Rebecca Lerner, twenty-nine, is quickly becoming the best-known urban forager in America. Through teaching, speaking and writing about useful wild plants of Portland, Oregon, she seeks to “inspire and empower my fellow human beings to remember who we really are.” Her blog, First Ways, is an entertaining how-to on turning common weeds and ornamentals into food and medicine, and has amassed a large following in the Pacific Northwest.
Lerner has been asked to appear on and consult with TV shows with the Discovery Channel, the Travel Channel, and the Food Network, and she has been quoted, profiled and interviewed in more than thirty –five media outlets, including the Los Angeles Times, The Oregonian, the Boston Globe, Adbusters magazine, the Utne Reader, national radio show Your Time with Kim Iverson, ABC TV News in Portland, in documentary films and a web reality show, on numerous blogs, on viral YouTube videos, in the upcoming book “Backyard Roots,” and much more. Her Facebook page, Facebook.com/UrbanForager, has 2,782 “likes” and her blog, www.FirstWays.com, gets 17,000 hits per month and rising.
In addition to teaching popular “Urban Foraging 101” plant identification workshops in Portland, and giving presentations on foraging at museums and survival and sustainability conferences, Lerner is an impressive and accomplished freelance journalist. She received her undergraduate degree in Philosophy from Rutgers University and a Master of Fine Arts degree in Creative Nonfiction Writing from Goucher College. She has been published on DiscoveryChannel.com, in Orion Magazine, Reality Sandwich magazine, and a dozen local newspapers in New Jersey, New York, and Oregon.