sanluisobispo---Copy.png
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00
0:00
Available On Air Stations
It's Giving Tuesday. Donate and nominate a nonprofit to win a $1,000 media grant from KCBX.

COMIC: How foraging restored my relationship with food

Page 2: When I walk into natural spaces, I see wonder. It's like Disney World, but plants, and way cheaper food.
LA Johnson
/
NPR

This comic, illustrated by LA Johnson, is inspired by an interview from TED Radio Hour's episode The Food Connection.

For forager Alexis Nikole Nelson, who has a very popular TikTok (@alexisnikole) with over 4 million followers, there's something soul-nourishing about connecting with your food. Her videos are all about her foraging adventures — finding cool plants, teaching people all about them and then using them to cook amazingly delicious dishes. And after dealing with an eating disorder and cultural stigma, she found that foraging was the way to fall back in love with food.

Page 1: Hi! I'm Alexis and I'm a forager. Which is a very fun way of saying I eat plants that do not belong to me. And I teach other people how to do the same thing.
/
/
Page 3: I remember gardening with my mother at our house ... well, I probably wasn't helping at all ... but she pointed to a patch of grass that looked different than all the other grass. "This is onion grass." Until she pointed it out to me, I had never noticed it.
/
/
Page 4: I break it, and suddenly the air is perfumed with garlic. Mom: You know how we cook with onions? You can cook with this, too. (Warning! If you tell a 5 year old this, they will go around breaking plants in your yard and smelling them!!to smell them!)
/
/
Page 5: My dad is excellent in the kitchen, and my mom in the garden, so I grew up with this. I'm very lucky to grow up as a black kid with black parents who are outdoorsy, because there has been this cultural separation between black folks and the outdoors.
/
/
Page 6: If you look back at history, at the diets of people who were enslaved, the way they beefed up their food rations was with hunting, trapping, fishing and foraging. But after slavery ended, new laws said you couldn't reap the benefits of the land unless you owned it.
/
/
Page 7: In the 20th century, foraging became taboo because the way to show off your wealth was by going to the grocery store. So a lot of this knowledge has been lost. I am just one of a myriad of people working to get that knowledge back.
/
/
Page 8: Many of us have a fraught relationship with food. A lot of that is societal pressure and how processed food is. I grew up overweight, pressured to eat less. I had an eating disorder. Food was the enemy.
/
/
Page 9: Foraging was the way that I fell back in love with food. It brought me joy and a connection to place.
/
/
Page 10: I believe caring about what you're nourishing your body with is soul-nourishing. Happy foraging, don't die!*
LA Johnson / NPR
/
NPR

* Please note: If done incorrectly, foraging can pose serious risks. Those who choose to pursue foraging should conduct thorough research from multiple credible sources, consult experts, and exercise caution.

This segment of TED Radio Hour was produced by Katie Monteleone and edited by Sanaz Meshkinpour. Fiona Geiran contributed to the research and digital production of this piece. You can follow us on Twitter @TEDRadioHour and email us at TEDRadio@npr.org.

Copyright 2022 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

LA Johnson is an art director and illustrator at NPR. She joined in 2014 and has a BFA from The Savannah College of Art and Design.
Katie Monteleone
Katie Monteleone is a producer for TED Radio Hour. She started out as an intern for the show in January 2019. After her internship, Monteleone began producing for Life Kit before returning to the TED Radio Hour team in October 2019 as a full-time producer.