Wild Plants and Medicinals

people nasturtium foraging.jpg

Want to know what you can eat in the woods? This is a great class for anyone who wants to learn about the most common wild foods, medicinal plants, and edible flowers in the Bay Area. Classes are held in parks in SF and the East Bay. Each class lasts about two hours and is suitable for the novice and veteran forager alike. Learn about the wild food you see on San Francisco restaurant menus—everything from miner’s lettuce to wild radish flowers.

Your guide Kevin Feinstein (a.k.a. Feral Kevin) is an author, teacher, forager and naturalist residing in the Bay Area. Author of The Bay Area Forager and Crash Course in Wild Mushroom Foraging
he’s been leading wild food walks for ForageSF for over five years, and foraging for decades.

EAST BAY:  $50

SAN FRANCISCO: $60

Upcoming Class Schedule: Various weekend and weekday dates, year-round. There are generally 2-3 classes each month. Click the above "Book It!" button to view all available calendar dates. 

Cost: $50 - $60 per person, plus booking fee

Duration: 2 hours (10am - 12pm or 12pm - 2pm)

Meeting Spot: Secret location (will be e-mailed a week before the walk).


When you book, you are accepting the terms in the release form linked below:

ForageSF Release Form

*Please note that we do not accept cancellations within 14 days of the class. You're welcome to sell or gift your tickets to a friend—just imagine how excited they'll be!

To hear what some of our past walkers have to say, check out our Yelp reviews.

Photos by Robin Jolin and Andria Lo


How to Forage in Your Urban Backyard

By: Caitlin Harrington at Outside Magazine

The Bay Area is a forager’s eden. Juicy plums dangle from branches in summer, savory porcinis blanket coastal forests in autumn, and winter brings vitamin-C-rich miner’s lettuce, named for the prospectors who devoured it to stave off scurvy. The secret to a locally picked bounty is knowing where to look. For roughly a decade, the mycologists, farmers, and nature geeks at ForageSF have led wild food walks through city parks and along the coast, extolling the superior flavor and nutrition of foraged grub. “Your lens changes when you realize that so much of what’s around you is edible,” says founder Iso Rabins.

Aided by celebrity chefs like René Redzepi, the foraging craze took off in the 2000s from Seattle to Copenhagen, and it has flourished in San Francisco. By the time ForageSF opened in 2008, some were already writing off foraging as a foodie fad, but enrollment in the company’s programs has grown. Offerings have expanded to include a variety of classes (including DIY mushroom cultivation, starting this fall), and Rabins has created a restaurant incubator. “As tech gets bigger in the area, people are hungry to do something with their hands,” he says.

We asked ForageSF’s guides to share some beginner steps to get started in your own neck of the woods.

Travel light. “If foragers were action figures,” says naturalist and author Kevin Feinstein, “they’d probably come armed with a plastic bag and a pair of scissors.”

Steer clear of contaminated soil. That includes busy roadsides, industrial sites, golf courses, train tracks, and spots with lots of dead vegetation, where herbicide may have been used.

Start with easy-to-ID plants that don’t have toxic look-alikes and eat only what you know. (For example, steer clear of the common field mushroom, Agaricus campestris, and its lethal doppelganger the death capAmanita phalloides.) Naturalist and mycologist Maya Elson recommends sourgrass, found throughout the U.S., which “adds a nice lemon flavor to your water,” and miner’s lettuce, which grows up and down the West Coast. “My two-year-old is easily able to identify both of these,” she says. To expand your skill set, see if your city has a foraging club or tour.

Keep it legal. Picking plants in most public parks is against the law, but you can stretch your identification muscles in these flora-rich zones.

Never pick rare or endangered edibles. And only take as much as you’ll eat. Rule of thumb: limit your gathering to a quarter of any single patch. Check your state’s legal maximum for higher-volume harvests like seaweed, which can range from ten pounds per day in California to 50 pounds per day in Maine.

Be discreet. Foragers tread lightly in fragile ecosystems and never spill the dirt on where they find rare treasures. Save the social-media post for the roasted fennel you whip up afterward.

Prepare your spoils safely. Most plants have washable skin, but mushrooms should be cooked for ease of digestion. (Cooking usually won’t neutralize poisonous fungi, though.) 

The Bay Area is a forager’s eden. Juicy plums dangle from branches in summer, savory porcinis blanket coastal forests in autumn, and winter brings vitamin-C-rich miner’s lettuce, named for the prospectors who devoured it to stave off scurvy. The secret to a locally picked bounty is knowing where to look. For roughly a decade, the mycologists, farmers, and nature geeks at ForageSF have led wild food walks through city parks and along the coast, extolling the superior flavor and nutrition of foraged grub. “Your lens changes when you realize that so much of what’s around you is edible,” says founder Iso Rabins.

Aided by celebrity chefs like René Redzepi, the foraging craze took off in the 2000s from Seattle to Copenhagen, and it has flourished in San Francisco. By the time ForageSF opened in 2008, some were already writing off foraging as a foodie fad, but enrollment in the company’s programs has grown. Offerings have expanded to include a variety of classes (including DIY mushroom cultivation, starting this fall), and Rabins has created a restaurant incubator. “As tech gets bigger in the area, people are hungry to do something with their hands,” he says.

We asked ForageSF’s guides to share some beginner steps to get started in your own neck of the woods.

Travel light. “If foragers were action figures,” says naturalist and author Kevin Feinstein, “they’d probably come armed with a plastic bag and a pair of scissors.”

Steer clear of contaminated soil. That includes busy roadsides, industrial sites, golf courses, train tracks, and spots with lots of dead vegetation, where herbicide may have been used.

Start with easy-to-ID plants that don’t have toxic look-alikes and eat only what you know. (For example, steer clear of the common field mushroom, Agaricus campestris, and its lethal doppelganger the death capAmanita phalloides.) Naturalist and mycologist Maya Elson recommends sourgrass, found throughout the U.S., which “adds a nice lemon flavor to your water,” and miner’s lettuce, which grows up and down the West Coast. “My two-year-old is easily able to identify both of these,” she says. To expand your skill set, see if your city has a foraging club or tour.

Keep it legal. Picking plants in most public parks is against the law, but you can stretch your identification muscles in these flora-rich zones.

Never pick rare or endangered edibles. And only take as much as you’ll eat. Rule of thumb: limit your gathering to a quarter of any single patch. Check your state’s legal maximum for higher-volume harvests like seaweed, which can range from ten pounds per day in California to 50 pounds per day in Maine.

Be discreet. Foragers tread lightly in fragile ecosystems and never spill the dirt on where they find rare treasures. Save the social-media post for the roasted fennel you whip up afterward.

Prepare your spoils safely. Most plants have washable skin, but mushrooms should be cooked for ease of digestion. (Cooking usually won’t neutralize poisonous fungi, though.)