For consumers, knowing where our food comes from and finding alternative sources to the big-box grocery store is an important part of the sustainable food conversation. Luckily, our friends at SPURSE, an NYC-based research and design collaborative, have once again put their think-outside-the-box spin on this very subject — but they need our help. Their newest project, the Eat Your Sidewalk Cookbook, is not just about recipes, it also doubles as an art book, a field guide to wild edible plants, and a manifesto on what “local” means beyond a consumer’s point of view. In order to get this project off the ground they are featuring it on Kickstarter, and with just two days left for people to donate money time is running out!
We first met the team at SPURSE last year during the BMW Guggenheim Lab in the East Village when we traveled to the Hackensack River. There, SPURSE introduced us to the Hackensack River Keepers and we got a first-hand account about how they were protecting and revitalizing the ecosystem in this highly-polluted waterway. The SPURSE team continues to explore how we as a community can make a difference. The impetus for the Eat Your Sidewalk Cookbook project came about when they realized that eating doesn’t have to begin in a store, a market or a garden.
In order to jump-start their research and to begin finding the answers to the question — “what if eating begins right under your feet wherever you are?” — SPURSE members challenged themselves to live for a week by foraging the sidewalks as if it was their very own grocery store. They were surprised to find how easy it was to make actual meals from what they were able to find, and as the community caught wind of what they were up to, grandmothers, freegans and foodies joined in on the fun.
Currently deep in the research phase of this book SPURSE has literally been hitting the pavement from New Jersey to Michigan and beyond, posing the same challenge to communities all over the country. Their research involves inventing new ways to cook and forage food, questioning old habits and even taking on some of the best local chefs.
After scouring the country for the best grub our sidewalks can offer, they are going to take this research and transform the pieces into a truly unique “cookbook.” Each addition of the Eat Your Sidewalk Cookbook will be lovingly printed at the Salt and Cedar Letterpress in Detroit Michigan, and should be ready to stack the shelves this fall.