Academic journal article Fordham Urban Law Journal

Food Law Gone Wild: The Law of Foraging

Academic journal article Fordham Urban Law Journal

Food Law Gone Wild: The Law of Foraging

Article excerpt

I tend to believe that most laws limiting foraging manifest a conscious or unconscious racial or class bias, although not everyone agrees with me.                                              --Professor Karl Jacoby (1)  TABLE OF CONTENTS  Introduction                                                     996   I. Foraging in America Today                                   999        A. What Is (and Isn't) Foraging?                          999        B. Foraging Is a Growing Trend in America                1000        C. Who Forages in America?                               1002        D. Why Americans Forage                                  1005  II. Foraging in Pre-Modern America: From Practice      to Prohibition                                             1008        A. Foraging from Pre-Colonial to Early-Modern America    1008        B. Development and Spread of American Anti-Foraging           Law                                                   1010           1. Anti-Foraging Laws Targeting Native Americans      1011           2. Anti-Foraging Laws Targeting African Americans     1011           3. Anti-Foraging Laws Targeting Rural Americans       1013 III. Modern American Foraging Regulations                       1014        A. Urban Foraging Laws                                   1015        B. State Foraging Laws                                   1019        C. Federal Foraging Laws                                 1022           1. Federal Foraging Regulations                       1022           2. Data on Foraging Rules in NPS National Parks       1028  IV. Toward an Ideal Foraging Law                               1030        A. Legalize All Foraging in All National Park Service           Units                                                 1031        B. End the "Museumification" of City Parks               1033        C. Eliminate Discouraging and Confusing Rules            1034        D. Recognize that Foragers Are Conservationists          1035        E. Lightly Regulate Foragers                             1037 Conclusion                                                      1039  APPENDICES  Appendix A. National Park Service Policies Pertaining to   Foraging Edible Foods in Our Nation's Fifty-Nine   National Parks                                                1040 Appendix B. National Park Service's Enumerated List of Wild   Foods Open to Foraging in Our Nation's Fifty-Nine   National Parks                                                1050 

INTRODUCTION

Foraging is the act of searching for and harvesting wild foods for sustenance. (2) Humans began and evolved as hunter-gatherers. (3) For nearly all of our species' history, foraging--the practices of the "gatherer" in "hunter-gatherer"--was a necessary activity that sustained mankind as we spread across the globe. With the rise of agriculture and, much later, commercial food production--particularly in developed countries such as the United States--the necessity of foraging has waned. Today's humans subsist on a startlingly small percentage of the edible plants available to them. And, save for a dwindling number of societies across the globe, mankind no longer subsists on hunting and gathering alone, or even chiefly. (5)

Yet it would be grossly inaccurate to suggest that foraging as a human practice ever left us. I have eaten blackberries and mushrooms I harvested in state and local parks; rose hips, pawpaws, and blueberries I gathered in national parks; and apples, figs, cherries, pears, and chives I picked while strolling city streets. As a forager, I'm an amateur. True foragers--those who regularly and actively seek out food to gather and eat, and who can recognize a broad variety of wild foods beyond those that resemble typical fruits and vegetables sold in a grocer's produce section--are legion. And those legions are growing, as scholarly and mainstream articles make clear.

Today, though, laws at all levels of government in America increasingly target foragers. …

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