The Christchurch Youth Council encourage young people to join them at their foraging events

Foraging the red zone

by Ann van Engelen

The Christchurch Youth Council is encouraging young people to join together and discover the edible plants that are available in the residential red zone area across the city.

“People don’t realise there are hundreds of edible plants ready for free foraging and many of our young people are enjoying discovering the various foods available,” says youth council coordinator Kate Burgess.

“The youth council established an environmental policy last year, trying to make our events more environmentally sustainable. That is how we have learnt about foraging. We plan to hold a rubbish clean-up in the red zone and teach people about foraging for sustainable food sources such as edible plants, fruit and nuts at the event.

“A lot of young people don’t remember the area before it turned into the red zone and don’t realise there is a mass of land that is currently unused.

We want them to understand a bit more about the city. There are some areas fenced off, but a lot is open to the public where people had beautiful gardens with fruit and nut trees. Now the produce just drops on the ground and we are allowed to take a share of things. There is foraging etiquette such as don’t over pick and always try to take just what is on the ground.

Our Christchurch City Council parks are also edible parks that you are allowed to shop around in.

“It is important to make sure you know what is edible, but there is so much out there being wasted. It is good to see our people passing on their knowledge of things like bay leaves and making elderflower cordial, so others know what is what. It brings our communities together in a unique way.”

Check out the Christchurch Youth Council Facebook page for upcoming events.