Dandelion Hunter.

Author:Morrow, Patricia
Position:Book review

Rebecca Lerner (author); DANDELION HUNTER; Lyons Press (Nonfiction: Sustainable Living) 16.95 ISBN: 9780762780624

Byline: Patricia Morrow

Need to survive the apocalypse? There's a plant for that.

If natural disaster strikes and grocery store shelves go bare, what could an apartment dweller find to eat? The thought of "apocalypse insurance" drove Rebecca Lerner to explore her urban area -- the yards, railroad tracks, and sidewalk cracks of Portland, Oregon -- to find enough edible wild plants to survive for one week. Dandelion Hunter: Foraging the Urban Wilderness chronicles her experience, and in a very palatable way.

In the foreword, Lerner sums up what she learned in one elegant sentence: "Every wild plant has a gift to offer." After enumerating some of those gifts, she reminds us that "before there was 'an app for that,' there was a plant for that."

The twenty-something author -- "I was born in the early Eighties, part of the last generation to come of age before electronics colonized the childhood imagination" -- does not make herself out to be a Euell Gibbons, experienced and knowledgeable about existing on a natural diet. Instead, she gives readers a journal of a city-dweller's step-by-step process of up-front failures and ultimate success that comes from viewing the abundance of nature in a new light and looking at weeds, among other things, as sources of food.

The story is well-written and engaging from start to finish. Lerner is forthcoming with self-exposure and humor. She brings the reader into each scene, like when she and a...

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