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Living off the land - In the city!
Old 04-26-2009, 05:18 PM   #1
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Living off the land - In the city!

That is the headline of the Web article linked below.

Live off the land -- in the city - MSN Money


Starting out with benign greens such as wood sorrel, mallow, chickweed, wild mustard, and dandelions, the article quickly progresses to protein sources.

In recent years cities such as New York, Cincinnati and Washington have had special archery hunts to thin out deer herds. Some areas of Arizona are experiencing nuisance populations of rabbits. "We have got bunnies galore," says Arizona Fish and Game spokesman Rory Aikens. Rabbits can be taken in the city limits with a bow and arrow or slingshot. So can "very edible reptiles," including the chuckwalla, a large lizard that Aikens describes as delicious when barbecued: "high protein, zero fat."

As the perky Rachel Ray likes to say, "yummy oh". And do you know that even Hollywood stars are partial to the pigeon squabs? And do you know it is better to clean pigeons outside the home?

Steven Rinella, the author of "The Scavenger's Guide to Haute Cuisine" and "American Buffalo: In Search of a Lost Icon," catches pigeons in his Brooklyn neighborhood. (Because they carry mites, he recommends they be cleaned and plucked outdoors.) Rinella also traps squirrels, which isn't strictly legal because in New York you're supposed to hunt them. He doubts anyone will press charges, given the huge population of the rodents.

"I like to catch some squirrels and pigeons and do them up in nice ways," says Rinella, who's hunted since his Michigan boyhood. The best pigeons are the flightless young ones, also known as squabs, which taste "just amazing." Aikens, who grew up in Los Angeles, says that in his boyhood he and pals would swipe young pigeons from nests under bridges. Then they'd sell them to "two very famous restaurants where the movie stars went."

Here are some delicacies some of our forum members have expressed an interest in.

Though these may seem a little gamey to some, there are plenty of Americans who'd gladly throw a possum on the barbie or roast up a "Hoover hog" (a Depression-era nickname for the armadillo). Detroit retiree Glemie Dean Beasley finds plenty of takers for the raccoon meat he sells to supplement his Social Security checks.

The only tip that I agree with, and sadly already know but have not been able to put into practice pending a successful relocation to the Puget Sound, is the following.

Nancy Leson, who writes the All You Can Eat blog for The Seattle Times, recently pulled up a dozen Dungeness and rock crabs from the waters near her home in Edmonds, Wash., population 40,000.

Haha has been advocating the "other white meat" recently on another thread. I have been to Poulsbo, which a guide book has called the "Geoduck Capital" of the world. But the chance of catching one in the wild looks slim, as most are now raised in private beaches, it appears.
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Old 04-26-2009, 06:02 PM   #2
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Eeeeeeewwwwww. Now thats nasty. There is no way I would forage for food in the city. Most of the ground is contaminated with heavy metals and dog and cat excrement. Great way to get sick.
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Old 04-26-2009, 06:15 PM   #3
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I live on the edge of a small city, and 'gather' various 'weeds' and I garden. Don't do critters, though once give a fresh kill rabbit (via cat) to a neighbor.
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Old 04-26-2009, 08:42 PM   #4
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Most of the ground is contaminated with heavy metals ...
Exactly! The water run-off from the pavement carries a lot of pollutants from cars. Even harmless-looking greens may be loaded with lead and who-knows-what contaminants. It is better to grow your own, or move out to the country side if one wants to forage.

By the way, the article does mention our own Jeff Yeager (the Ultimate Cheapskate) harvesting bamboo shoots from his own garden. That is fairly safe, by anyone's standard. Now, I remember my late father used to have a clump of bamboo in his yard, but never saw him get anything edible from it. Wrong type perhaps.
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Old 04-26-2009, 10:14 PM   #5
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It is better to grow your own...
And even then you have to be careful. Numerous studies have shown that soil in urban areas is often contaminated with lead and growing vegetables in your backyard could result in lead poisoning. So you either have to get the soil tested or use containers.
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Old 04-26-2009, 10:31 PM   #6
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Umm... I think my backyard was pretty much pristine desert soil before it was developed 25 years ago. The ancient Indians didn't have access to much heavy metal. I am safe.
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Old 04-26-2009, 10:37 PM   #7
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Numerous studies have shown that soil in urban areas is often contaminated with lead and growing vegetables in your backyard could result in lead poisoning. So you either have to get the soil tested or use containers.
Wouldn't it be better to quote these studies, or the results of your soil tests.
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Old 04-26-2009, 10:39 PM   #8
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Well, the lead would probably not have come from the indians but rather from air pollution and construction materials left in the ground. Those are the two major sources of lead pollution in urban soils. Your backyard might have been pristine 25 years ago, but land development might have rendered it less than pristine over time...
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Old 04-26-2009, 10:40 PM   #9
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Wouldn't it be better to quote these studies, or the results of your soil tests.
You can do what I did and google it...
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Old 04-27-2009, 02:17 AM   #10
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You can do what I did and google it...
OK, i did, got this?

And this? Which gives this "In general, plants do not absorb or accumulate lead."
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Old 04-30-2009, 06:00 PM   #11
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Long time Euell Gibbons fan here. Kind of drifted away from stalking wild food due to involvement in the rat race but still look for wild berrys when hiking. Now that I am ERed, perhaps I will take up the cause again more seriously.

Free (to stalk the wild asparagus)
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Old 04-30-2009, 06:44 PM   #12
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Why is this post in the "FIRE and Money" section? Is this a suggestion for those ERs who lost all their money and can't get a job?

Anyway, I would suggest growing sprouts on the kitchen counter/window as a first choice, before I would go foraging for wild greens and if I did go foraging I'd really do my research first.
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Old 04-30-2009, 07:41 PM   #13
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Why is this post in the "FIRE and Money" section? Is this a suggestion for those ERs who lost all their money and can't get a job?


My mispost was unintended, but might have scared off some ER wannabes. Heh heh heh...

Just another article on the Web to show that Americans are suddenly interested in frugality. We have been debating in this forum on whether this phenomenon is going to be short-lived, or the public psyche has been permanently affected. I would not know to bet either way.

I am already as frugal as I can be except for discretionary travel expenses, as I keep repeating. However, they say you cannot take it with you. But more, I recently read this somewhere.

"They say you cannot take it with you. Moreover, for most of us, even if we could, it would melt".


Heh heh heh ... Gee, why do I sound (and probably feel) like Uncle Mick more and more? I noticed audrey did that recently too.
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Old 04-30-2009, 09:10 PM   #14
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"They say you cannot take it with you. Moreover, for most of us, even if we could, it would melt"




Thats funny!
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Old 05-01-2009, 01:26 AM   #15
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As my dear departed FIL used to say "if I can't take it with me, I'm not going"
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Old 05-21-2009, 09:58 AM   #16
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Just found this article about lead contamination in the NY Times:

http://www.nytimes.com/2009/05/14/ga...gewanted=1&hpw

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Harmful even at very low doses, lead is surprisingly prevalent and persistent in urban and suburban soil. Dust from lead-tainted soil is toxic to inhale, and food grown in it is hazardous to eat.
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His and other research indicates lead levels in people’s blood correspond directly to the amount of lead in the soil where they live.
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Dr. Filippelli recommends planting kitchen gardens with fruiting crops like tomatoes, squash, eggplant, corn and beans because they don’t readily accumulate lead. Lead-leaching crops, he said, include herbs, leafy greens and root vegetables such as potatoes, radishes and carrots. Dirt also clings to these crops, making it hard to wash off and thereby increasing the risk of ingesting lead.
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Old 05-21-2009, 02:02 PM   #17
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Remember that "edible" does not necessarily equate to "tastes good."
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Old 05-21-2009, 10:00 PM   #18
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Just found this article about lead contamination in the NY Times:

http://www.nytimes.com/2009/05/14/ga...gewanted=1&hpw
Scholarly journals like this are what we wanted.
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Old 05-21-2009, 10:35 PM   #19
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What about that one? Scholarly enough for you?

ScienceDirect - Science of The Total Environment : Lead levels of edibles grown in contaminated residential soils: a field survey
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