Edible Weeds from Farm to Market
Many common weeds farmers battle with are the very ones popping up on restaurant menus, farmers’ markets, and pages of magazines and newspapers around the country.
The market potential for culinary weeds is expanding and some farmers are well-positioned to take advantage of this supplemental income, as they have disturbed soil (a favorite habitat for edible weeds) and a business set up for selling produce.
For farmers, bringing edible weeds to market can diversify production, increase the dollar-per-acre yield, offset labor costs, and potentially reduce the overall weed seed bank. For consumers, edible weeds offer new flavors and nutrition otherwise hard to get from cultivated crops. Environmentally, weed crops require no input of fossil fuels or soil amendments and can raise public awareness about organic management of invasive species through consumption.
Thanks to a grant from Northeast Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education, we will be researching the use and marketability of edible weeds as supplemental farm crops and creating a resource guide for farmers on how and why to use edible weeds as crops.
We will collect content through a primary study with partner farmers, a regional survey, expert interviews, and literature research. The guide will be made available online and distributed throughout the Northeast. We hope this work empowers producers who wish to add edible weeds to their harvest lists.
There are many ways to get involved with this project. Check back here for updates. Any input about the intersections of agriculture and wild foods is welcomed.
More information about the project can be found on the SARE website.