In the article, there is the usual explanation of the difference between digging up roots and removing berries (one can kill the plant, the other doesn’t) and quotes from prominent foragers pointing out that in fact leaves grow back and that there are ways to take from plants sustainably.
It is exciting to see something as primal and wild and money-free as foraging becoming so popular in a sophisticated city many view as the capital of capitalism itself. It’s fascinating to see public ideas about nature change shape as this clash brings up questions like: To whom does wild land belong? How can we be part of nature without killing it? Foragers have important insights to bring.
Anyone with any foresight can see that as the U.S. economy continues to crumble, foraging is going to continue to increase in its appeal. And in a country where most people cannot afford their medical bills, a revival of wildcrafting medicinal herbs will follow, too.
So rather than banning foraging, let’s officially embrace it. Let’s find ways to make the most of it. The government can work with foragers to educate the public on sustainable harvesting and even encourage removal of invasives by posting info on target species and asking people to pull them instead of spending money on toxic spraying. To relieve impact on Central Park, the government can allot more green spaces all over the city. This need not cost much in money or labor: Why not let vacant lots go wild and officially sanction wildcrafting inside of them?