Habitats & Harvests: Wild Edible Plants

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Program Type:

Presentation, Garden & Nature

Age Group:

Registration for this event is no longer open.

Program Description


Join the Portsmouth Public Library online this spring and summer for Habitats & Harvests, a series on gardening and native plants. Each presentation will be followed by Q&A! We’ll kick off with Wild Edible Plants with Russ Cohen, on Monday, April 26 from 7 to 8:30 PM.

The area in and around Portsmouth is home to over 100 species of edible wild plants, some of which are more nutritious and/or flavorful than their cultivated counterparts. Join Russ Cohen, expert forager and author of Wild Plants I Have Known...and Eaten, for a 90-minute presentation, Edible Wild Plants in and around Portsmouth.

It covers over 40 of the tastiest species the region has to offer. These range from plants everyone knows well, like Daisies and Dandelions, to plants they may never have even heard of, like Calamus and Carrion Flower. Russ will present information for each species on identification tips, edible portion(s), season(s) of availability and preparation methods, along with general guidelines for safe and environmentally-responsible foraging. Russ will also include a few details regarding some native edible plants he has grown successfully from seed, and the partnerships he has made with conservation groups and others to add edible native plants to their landscapes. Russ will be available to answer questions at the end! 

Registration is required. Register to receive a Zoom link!

Until his retirement in June of 2015, Russ Cohen’s “day job” was serving as the Rivers Advocate for the Massachusetts Department of Fish and Game’s Division of Ecological Restoration, where one of his areas of expertise was in riparian vegetation. Now Russ has more time to pursue his passionate avocation, which is connecting to nature via his taste buds, and teaching others how to do the same. In addition to leading over three dozen wild edibles and talks each year at a wide variety of venues throughout the Northeast, Russ is now playing the role of Johnny Appleseed for native edible species. He has set up a nursery (near his childhood home in Weston, MA) where he is growing over 1,000 plants, representing more than a third of the more than 170 species native to Northeast ecoregions that are edible by people. Many of these plants were propagated from seed Russ gathered himself. Russ is then forming partnerships with land trusts, municipalities, state and federal agencies, schools and colleges, tribal groups and others, to plant plants from his nursery on appropriate places on their properties. Russ has initiated over two dozen such projects in the past three years. Russ' foraging book, Wild Plants I have Known...and Eaten, published in 2004 by (and all proceeds from sales benefiting) the Essex County Greenbelt Association, is now in its seventh printing.

More Info

This event will be held online on the Zoom platform. Questions or trouble connecting? Visit cityofportsmouth.com/library/news/onlineprograms.