In her latest nutritional newsletter, New York-based health and wellness expert Myra Klockenbrink encouraged people to visit their neighborhood grassy areas to pick young, serrated dandelion greens. She included a recipe for sautéing the greens with minced onion (or shallot), cubed red beets, sea salt, and an olive-oil-and-raspberry-vinegar dressing with walnut garnish. “Congratulate yourself,” she wrote. “You have touched the ground, and eaten from it.”

I wrote her right back to say, in essence, “Myra, are you crazy? We’re in New York City. I wouldn’t eat the dandelions from any park or even my own back yard.” Here’s her clever response. I have to admit, it made me think:

“I think that, overall, our parks are under-utilized. And foraging away from path edges and obvious pollution would mitigate any pathogens from being brought home. A good rinse and a good cook and they are probably more nutritious than much of our wantonly sprayed and manhandled produce. And if your backyard is dog-free, why not? The earth is the earth. Produce grown in a monoculture field is no more holy than a backyard, methinks. It’s just that we are so separated from where our food comes from that we have become conditioned to have it handed down to us.”

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