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7th Edition of Wild Edibles Book Still Tempting Taste Buds

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June 21, 2017

 
7th Edition of Wild Edibles Book Still Tempting Taste Buds
Proceeds Benefit Local Land Conservation
 
Essex, MA, June 21, 2017:   Growing up, Russ Cohen spent much of his time in the woods, cultivating a strong spiritual connection to nature. This love for the outdoors was nurtured by his parents, but it was his high school biology teacher who offered a mini-course in Edible Botany, that provided the spark that ignited Cohen’s lifelong passion for eating wild plants.
 
“We learned about two dozen species of edible wild plants that grew around the high school grounds, and the course finale was a big feed, in which my classmates and I made and share dishes from the plants we learned about,” Cohen recalls.  “The course got me so excited about foraging that I went to the local library and took out every book I could on the topic. I taught myself over 50 more edible wild plant species in the following two years, and in my senior year of high school (1974), I taught a section of the Edible Botany class myself.” The rest is history.
 
Now, Cohen is one of New England’s foremost edibles experts, and regularly lectures and teaches people how to forage on our local landscape. Cohen first compiled decades of learning, practicing and teaching about wild food foraging into a book in 2004. Nearly 6000 copies later, Cohen’s following is stronger than ever.
 
The seventh printing of Wild Plants I Have Known…and Eaten, released this month, is published by Greenbelt, Essex County’s Land Trust. The publication is not only informative, but it is deeply personal and entertaining.  Seven editions later, sales remain as steady as Cohen’s commitment to the sustainable, edible landscape. 

Cohen’s book sells for $15.00 and is available on the Greenbelt website, www.ecga.org/ store.

 
Despite living closer to Boston, Cohen came to appreciate and enjoy Essex County for its bountiful foraging opportunities. “Of the species I wrote about in my book, many can be found in Essex County fields, forests and shoreline. The passionate author is quick to make the connection between the value of open land and foraging.
 
“While remaining focused on its primary mission of land conservation, Greenbelt helps to reinforce the concept that, where compatible with other resource values, traditional uses of the rural landscape (like foraging) can play an important role in nourishing (literally as well as figuratively) people’s connection to the landscape.“
 
Cohen retired from a long and gratifying career as an advocate for the waterways of Massachusetts.  Now, his passion for gathering, eating and teaching people about wild edibles is helping to write this current chapter of his life. I want to “give back” to the edible landscape that continues to sustain and inspire my appetite for native edible species.  Like John Chapman (often called Johnny Appleseed), who introduced apple trees to new states and the emerging frontier, I see potential within the abundant protected landscapes in Essex County for a proliferation of edible species. 
 
I’ve begun to inventory open spaces across the region that are perfect habitats for native edibles.  These plants may have thrived in these fields and forest at a past moment in time, but no longer exist there in intact communities due to changes in land use or natural occurrences. In the months and years ahead, I will begin to work with willing towns and organizations, like Greenbelt, to plant pioneer species of edibles, and give them a gentle helping hand, if needed, to thrive. Along the way, we’ll nibble on the landscape, encouraging the native species and helping to control the
 
You can join Russ for his next foraging excursion on June 28th, 6:00-8:00 pm, at the Cox Reservation, where he will check in and nibble on the edible species he has planted there over the last few years. The event is free and open to the public.
 
Like Johnny Appleseed, Russ Cohen’s generosity of knowledge, leadership in conservation, and commitment to edible plantings will leave a tasty legacy to be enjoyed by future generations in Essex County.
 
                                                                                                                                                                                     About Greenbelt: Since 1961, Greenbelt has been working with local individuals, families, farmers and communities to protect the farmland, wildlife habitat and scenic vistas of Essex County. Greenbelt has protected more than 17,000 acres of local land and has had a direct role in 75% of all land conserved in the last decade.  For more information about Greenbelt programs, or the Art in the Barn Exhibition and Sale, visit www.ecga.org or call 978-768-7241.
 
                                                         
About Russ Cohen: Until his retirement in June of 2015, Russ Cohen served for over two decades as the Rivers Advocate for the Massachusetts Department of Fish and Game’s Division of Ecological Restoration. He now has more time to devote to his passionate avocation: connecting to nature via nibbling on it, and assisting others in doing the same. Russ is into his fifth decade of leading wild edibles walks and talks at a wide variety of venues in eastern Massachusetts and elsewhere in New England and upstate NY.  In addition, since his retirement, Russ is acting as a “Johnny Appleseed” of sorts for native edible species. He has set up a nursery containing hundreds of edible plants native to this region, many of which he propagated from seed he collected himself. Russ is also establishing partnerships with land trusts, municipalities, state and federal agencies, schools and colleges, and other landowners and land managers, to plant edible native species from his nursery and elsewhere on appropriate places on their properties. You can read more about Russ at http://users.rcn.com/eatwild/bio.htm