The Medicine Hunter, Chris Kilham, recently visited Central Park with Steve Brill, also known as "Wild Man," to talk about foraging.
Kilham asked Brill how he became interested in foraging.
Brill said he was hungry one day when he decided to make his own cookies.
This got him interested in cooking, which led to an interest in wild plants.
Brill started studying these plants, so he knew what he was eating beforehand – and that led to field walks in the Greater New York area.
Incidentally, one of those field walks led to Brill’s arrest – he illegally ate a dandelion – but the city Parks Department dropped the charges and hired him to lead foraging tours instead.
“It was in the 1980s, there was a crime wave going on, and I was the number one target of the Parks Department,” Brill said. “They got me so much publicity. I was on “Letterman,” I was on the CBS evening news and page one of the Chicago Sun Times. The parks department was forced to turn over a new leaf.”
Brill has been leading foraging tours for almost 30 years, he said.
“I teach people to appreciate the ecosystem, understand what is renewable,” he said. “I get a lot of kids interested in nature and ecology. Some of them grow up to become school teachers who take their own classes on my tours.”
Check out wildmanstevebrill.com for more information.
You can also download his app, Wild Edibles, on your smartphone.