Bittman ‘takes a walk on the wild side’

In the first of his new online video series, food writer, author and Berkeley Food Institute visiting fellow Mark Bittman takes a “walk on the wild side” with two UC Berkeley researchers who are raising the profile of urban food foraging.

Bittman, a New York Times food columnist, has teamed with the University of California and the Food Institute for the food-focused series, “California Matters,” which launched today.

In the video, Bittman goes out foraging in East Bay neighborhoods with Philip Stark, a professor of statistics, and Tom Carlson, an ethnobotanist and tenured lecturer in the Department of Integ rative Biology. Stark and Carlson want to boost awareness about urban foraging and the nutritional value of wild edibles found all around us. He also visits Sonoma County farmer Bob Cannard, a leader in sustainable and organic growing, and Chez Panisse, where foraged weeds are stars of a special dinner menu.

“Who knows?” asks Bittman, about weeds, in the video. “One of them could become the next kale.”

Upcoming episodes in the series explore leading-edge UC research in food, sustainable agriculture, policy and health around the state.

Episodes will include a look at restaurant workers’ rights with Saru Jayaraman, director of UC Berkeley’s Food Labor Research Center; the role of pollinators in crop production, with Berkeley ecologist Claire Kremen; the effects of pesticide exposure on mothers and children in the Salinas Valley, with epidemiologist Brenda Eskenazi, of Berkeley’s School of Public Health; and the changing face of California agriculture, with Jennifer Sowerwine, a researcher in the Department of Environmental Science, Policy and Management.

To watch the video, click here. Bittman also will be talking online about foraging in a Twitter chat Wednesday.

For more information about Stark and Carlson’s interest in food foraging, read “Foragers find bounty of edibles in urban food deserts” on the UC Berkeley NewsCenter.

For more details on the series, visit the UC website.