Could you find enough wild grown food to survive in the city?

Wandering the city streets and harvesting the fresh produce nature provides has recently become a popular pastime in the UK and the US. In our globalised society, foraging offers the opportunity to get back to nature, slow down and carefully observe our surroundings. 

While most of its residents are unaware of the possibilities it provides in terms of wild grown edible products, metropolitan London offers enough to go around - and for the most experienced, enough to pay their bills.

Jonathan Cook, known as 'John the Poacher', is a professional forager. He spends his days collecting herbs, fruit and mushrooms in east London. 

"Foraging has become really popular now," Cook says. "I think because of the taste of food that you get from it, the sense of achievement when you find it yourself, and everybody loves something for nothing."

"It keeps me self-sufficient. I haven't been to a supermarket - to shop for myself - in 20 years. There's too much stuff out here."

John is able to find hidden gems that most of us would rarely notice almost anywhere, but his success comes from experience. "There is a lot of danger with foraging because there are a lot of poisonous mushrooms and poisonous plants", according to Cook. 

For the ones who might be interested in foraging for fresh ingredients in the city, Cook runs foraging walks to teach amateurs what to look out for.

Local restaurants and bars in East London regularly buy the fresh seasonal products he collects. As a trained chef and conservationist, Cook knows exactly what the business are looking for. "It gives me an insight into the food world - so I know the sort of thing that people are going to be wanting." 

Food for thought for other city residents - unaware of what's currently available in their own backyard.