Foraging for Sustainability
ForageSF is a unique and new company and experience in San Francisco. Dedicated to educating customers about the wonders of foraging, ForageSF is also committed to teaching people to respect the environment from which food is found in hopes that overall respect will lead to more environmental stewardship.
There is something about knowing you can get food from a place that can bond you to that place. I want people to have that moment of realization, that deep connection, so that they really start to care about the environment.
The business puts on classes that teach people how to correctly and safely forage for items found in the Bay Area’s natural environment. Classes can range from mushroom foraging to seaweed foraging. Additionally, they put on pop-up dinners that serve decadent courses made entirely from foraged items. Dishes have included candy cap mushrooms, wild seaweed soup, and salads made entirely of foraged greens from a trail in the Marin Headlands.
In the Photo: A Wild Food Walk Exploring Wild Edibles and Medicinals in San Francisco and East Bay. Photo Credit: Iso Rabins
Iso Rabins, founder of ForageSF, credits his relationship with the environment as one of the reasons he started the company. “There is something about knowing you can get food from a place that can bond you to that place. I want people to have that moment of realization, that deep connection, so that they really start to care about the environment.”
It’s important for him that people understand that foraging is an accessible activity—but one that is grounded on balance. Foraging is not about reaping from the land, but taking what is needed and giving back to ensure that it exists in the future.
What’s happening in the food world is that there is some anxiety around not knowing how to do something and then feeling stupid. And it keeps a lot of people out.
Additionally, Rabins started a kitchen in Oakland to further expand on accessibility to the food world. Forage Kitchen is a kitchen space open to people new to the food or cooking business. The space is meant to be a place for people to come together and learn from one another, to decrease the anxiety around “feeling stupid”.
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When starting out, Rabins felt alone and isolated, which is why Forage Kitchen and Forage SF are built on the idea of community and collaboration. “It’s all a give and take relationship. And we should have that give and take relationship with our environment too,” he said. One of his favorite parts about the kitchen is that it’s a space for people starting out in the same place he started in, except they now have a community.
In the Photo: A participant holds a wild mushroom during a guided forage walk. Photo Credit: ForageSF
To learn more about either ForageSF or Forage Kitchen, please visit their website and Instagram for a more intimate look. They are currently hosting mushroom foraging classes for the fall in Santa Cruz, Marin and San Francisco.