Avid collectors Caleb Philips and Ethan Welty released an interactive map last month that identifies more than half a million places around the world where fruits and vegetables can be taken away for free. The project, called “Falling Fruit,” features all sorts of tasty trees in public parks, lining city streets and even hanging over fences from Britain to New Zealand. The same goes for Iowa, we have wildlife management areas where nuts, berries, mushrooms and asparagus are fine, but no other plants. Check with your MNR. In Minnesota, we can look for mushrooms, berries, nuts, and a few other edibles in state parks, but NO PLANTS or PLANT PIECES (green ramps/ramps, for example). This varies greatly by city/state. Some local urban parks allow it, others don`t. The difference — the change I am proposing — would be to move from the standard prohibition that exists under the current rules — which require any foraging in a particular park to be illegal unless permitted by a superintendent — to something much more permissive, similar to how any search for food in a park is legal. unless prohibited by a director.

State parks allow foraging, but not for everything. Among other less specific mentions in the Minnesota Code, under 6100.0900, Subpart 2, it is specifically stated: “The collection or possession of fresh natural plants in state parks is prohibited, except that edible fruits and mushrooms may be harvested for personal, non-commercial use.” This is good news for those looking for berries and mushrooms. However, paragraph 1 states: “No person in a state park. may interfere, destroy, injure, damage, disfigure, harass or remove. Wildflowers or vegetation of any kind dead or alive… This is not good for someone looking for other foods such as railings, fiddle sticks, greens of all kinds or other parts of a plant that are not fruits. One of the main complaints I hear from the collectors I talk to is that a combination of unclear and conflicting rules, coupled with a lack of easy access to those rules, creates an atmosphere that prevents the use and enjoyment of the parks.