HERBARIUM

F R O M T H E
U R B A N
FIELDS

HERBARIUM IS AN IN SITU
E X P L O R AT I O N O F
H U M A N - P L A N T

GEOGRAPHIES
WITHIN AN
U R B A N
NEIGBOURHOOD OF THE
F U Ž I N E
AREA

TA B L E O F C O N T E N T
Setting the ground
On foraging
Reading Instructions

3
7
9

27. April 2014
Notes on the first urban foraging fieldtrip

13

20. June 2014
Notes on picking cherries, linden & mint

25

27. June 2014
Notes on picking nettle

44

4. July 2014
Notes on picking japanese knotweed

58

25. July 2014
Notes on collective foraging for wild herbs
8. September 2014
Notes on picking autumn fruits

80

Index of edible wild plants

96

SETTING
THE
G R O U N D

We live now, in 2014, in the Fužine district of Ljubljana.
Since the market crash and resulting breakdown of 2009,
life has changed quite drastically. The economic crisis
and a change in the larger collective thought produced a
movement, a diversity of community-created and organised economies co-sustaining somewhere between state
control and the global market. People are fed up with blind
consumption and are curious to learn how to co-exist locally, anew. How to use the land, waste, how to grow and
preserve, how to hack, repair and transform, how to share
and exchange what they produce and own. Bottom-up
strategies are developed by sharing practical solutions
through online channels and forums as well as by exchanging on-site pragmatics and common sense.
In this new climate the role of the local museum has also
changed. In order to sync with the potential roles of such
institutions one would need to re-think the action behind
the meaning of terms like preservation, conservation, archive and heritage. As designers what do we really leave
behind, which/who’s knowledge do we preserve, what
is our legacy? Empowered by neighbourhood initiatives,
residents, local and international creatives, the Museum
of Design and Architecture (mao) is in a state of becoming a representative for the new ethics and aesthetics of
local and trans-local knowledge production and a refuge,
III

a space for creative experimentation. In doing so it is disseminating inventive strategies for the resilient preservation of natural and human lives.
This work represents an in situ exploration of existing
social and vegetational geographies within an urban neighbourhood and the nearby surroundings of the Fužine
area. Observing and reflecting on the needs of our local
surroundings we took the perspective of food and practices connected with food as an object of our daily concern,
mirroring ways of constructing our contemporary cultural
and political existence.
We began our project knowing very little about the area,
which we took as an asset, let us be surprised, ready to react to things that resonate with us through our own exploration. Our journey began by meeting every Friday morning, cycling to the Fužine neighbourhood, to forage in
the urban wilds and work on the collection of ‘preserved’
landscapes. The field-trips gradually evolved and expanded from picking up material resources such as edible wild
plants to collecting situated knowledges through walking,
talking to people we met and organising workshops.
Metaphorically our exploration takes the principles of foraging, searching for, picking up and finding value in things
IV

that the space already offers: stories, practices, ideas, invasive plants ... But also being attentive, using all the senses:
smell, taste, sight, intuition ..., searching for new places of
potential growth, working with the season, being at the
right place at the right time, harvesting with care.
This unfolding project is a process of self-inquiry into our
own lifestyles, and comes into existence as the result of
what we could afford to do (time and money) and enjoyed
doing. It emerges, comes into being as an exploratory
self-learning processes through which we gain our understanding of the existing challenges.
Each action was followed by reflection that proposed the
next step. What we leave behind us is the story of what
we have learned and thought along the way, in the form of
fieldtrip notes, reflections and partial propositions.
This book is a work in progress, preserving the harvest of
our current findings. Gatehered information is presented
in a raw format, meanting that it lives space for personal
interpretation, upgrades and further development.

V

ON
F O R A G I N G

What kind of spatial choreographies of engagement with human–plant geographies can
we imagine in the future? Practices that are
spontaneous, accessible, nurturing, nomadic
and fluid, that let us run away and come back
again whenever or wherever we want or can?
What would such actions, stretching between
our primal needs and free intentions, look
like? — We propose re-introducing urban foraging as a collective performance through
spatial and social engagement. Such action
gives us space to re-think our common understanding of the role of food and nature in
cities; the way we engage with public greens
and urban wilds, giving us access to activities like talking through walking, engaging
our bodies, getting to know the area, learning about the vegetational landscape, sharing
the harvest, exchanging social interaction and
knowledge and imagining new co-sustaining
systems. Activities around urban foraging
help us get acquainted with the specifics of
our local natural resources and the people
that surround us.

R E A D I N G
INSTRUCTIONS

FIELDTRIP NOTES
Herbarium is divided in chapters which
cronologicaly present personal observations
on our fieldtrip journeys. Such format enables us to expose the development of actions
through the process of exploration.
In forms of short stories, the findings are
shared without intervening or making fast
conclusions, leaving the reader a fairly free
space for a personal re-interpretation.
QUESTIONS &
PREPOSITIONS TO-GO
Such raw material, that supports the observations only throug gentle prepositions in
form of questions and partial prepositions,
offers the reader to take ownership over the
process of further ideation and design
intervention.

IX

A COLLECTION OF EDIBLE
PRESERVES
Our fieldtrips started by wanting to make
a collection of edible wild preserves of the
Fužine area. Further on the foraged items
served us as talking pieces or cultural props,
enabeling us to approach the bypasseres
and develop further conversations.
Making a collection of preserves also allowed us to explore and design new edible
products that respond to emerging environmental and social phenomena.
T4I / TOOLS FOR IMPROVISATION
On our journeys we needed to engage with
the feeling of instabitiy, quick responses and
improvisation. Being perceptive to similar
ways of working in the world of material
cultures, we wanted to expose and bring
value to design objects that are made on
the spot, from things that we have or can be
found through our personal networks.

X

VALUE BEFORE CONTENT
While picking and preserving the edible
wilds we stared to understand and value the
amount of work and time that is put into a
product. The modern consumer is alienated
from such understanding and the process
behind the product production dissapears
on the shelves of the supermarket. How
could we re-label the products so one can
access to information beyond the nutritious
value of the product? How could such intervention influence our buying actions and
price value? By labelling work and conflictual ethics behind the product we would like
to open such discussion.
MAPPING TIME & SPACE
In a book you can find two maps that represent the time and space perspective of our
project. It is our wish to connect this maps
to the stories in the book, and to open up
possibilities of unliear ways of reading and
understanding the content.

XI

27. APRIL 2014
N O T E S
O N T H E F I R S T
URBAN
F O R A G I N G
FIELDTRIP:
A COLLECTIVE
F I E L D T R I P W I T H
A N E X P E R T A N D T H E
L O C A L
C O M M U N I T Y

14

As a part of our group meeting (The Knowing food team
members) in April we organized a free workshop with
Dario Cortese, a Slovenian expert on edible wild food. We
wanted to attract as many local residents as possible, so we
distributed flyers all over Fužine and contacted all the local
organizations we could find (youth organizations, schools,
library ...). Despite the bad weather forcast nearly 40 a lot
of people showed up. Dario took us on a trip around the
castle and along the stream on the riverbank of Ljubljanica.
We tried around 20 different edible plants, shared recipes
and exhchanged our experiences.
Our questions and reflections conneceted to the experience of the fieldtrip are presented in the following interview with the expert.

15

A CURIOSITY INTERVIEW
I N C O N V E R S AT I O N W I T H
DARIO CORTESE,
A LOCAL EXPERT ON
EDIBLE WILD PLANTS
ON THE ROLE OF EDIBLE
WILD PLANTS &
F O R A G I N G T O D AY
TO WHAT DEGREE COULD EDIBLE WILD PLANTS
PROVIDE, NUTRITIONALLY, IN RELATION TO
CULTIVATED PLANTS, FOR THE POPULATION
OF SLOVENIA?
As a hearty, mineral rich food source wild edible plants
could be foraged and used by everyone. Nutritionally the
most important edible autogenous plants are largely perennials or troublesome annual weeds, that even with regular picking by a large number of people would be hard to
eradicate. Because these plants are highly nutritional they
could, in combination with common cultivated foods (legumes, potatoes and other tubers) provide for the entire
population.
16

WHY ARE EDIBLE WILD PLANTS IMPORTANT FOR
MAN AND THE ENVIRONMENT?
For man they are important as a fundamental source of essential minerals, vitamins, antioxidants and other bioactive
substances that cultivated vegetables and even enriched
processed foods cannot match. In their natural environment they are important as part of various ecosystems; as
pioneer plants they overgrow and help regenerate natural- or man-made damaged forest floors and prepare the
ground for the arrival of other plant species.
WITH HUMAN MIGRATION AND LATER, WITH
WIDESPREAD TRANSPORTATION, CAME THE MIGRATION OF WILD PLANTS. IN CASES WHERE
THE ENVIRONMENT IS NOT YET READY FOR THE
NEWLY-FORMED SITUATION SO-CALLED INVASIVE PLANTS DISRUPT NATURE’S BIOTIC BALANCE. TO WHAT EXTENT DO INVASIVE PLANTS
THREATEN INDIGENOUS VEGETATION AND
WHERE DO YOU THINK POTENTIAL SYMBIOSES
MIGHT ARISE? DO YOU KNOW ANY EXAMPLES OF
GOOD PRACTICES BY THE NATURAL ENVIRONMENT OR OF INNOVATIVE HUMAN INTERVENTION? WHAT SHOULD FUTURE POLITICS RELATED TO ISSUES OF MIGRATION AND NEW PLANT
RELATIONS LOOK LIKE?
17

So called invasive plants, as well as various weeds, spread
first on damaged ground, like excavation areas, motorway
embankments or fields. As part of natural processes their
purpose is to prepare the ground for other species and
finally for forests, as the original inhabitants of our landscape. But this process takes decades. Of course during
such time invasive species (usually with our help) spread
elsewhere and confront indigenous vegetation. But this is
not, in my personal opinion, and again looking at it from
nature’s perspective, a problem. By the way I believe that
the most invasive species in our country, as well as in many
other places around the world, is corn.
Innovative interventions or establishing different relationships with the invasives would consist simply in eating
them, as most are edible and some of also have healing
properties. But because of their great abundance it is impossible to eat them all. The natural environment is a case
of good practice, it establishes balance itself – looking at
the issue from nature’s perspective, not the human one.
In my opinion any kind of politics dealing with plants is redundant, because they are in any case more resilient, more
powerful than any human intervention, and with our help
(whether we wish it or not) spread even more. This is a
dynamic, natural process that is impossible to stop. We are
only the assistants.
18

FUŽINE REPRESENTS AN IDEAL EXAMPLE OF
CONTEMPORARY TRENDS IN URBANIZATION,
WHERE THE URBAN CONCEPT IS SPREADING TO
RURAL AREAS AND VICE VERSA. THAT’S WHY IT’S
INTERESTING GROUND ON WHICH TO TEST AND
QUESTION THE ROLES OF EDIBLE WILD PLANTS
NOW AND IN THE FUTURE. WHERE, IN YOUR
OPINION, WILL THEY FIND THEIR PLACE AND
MEANING IN SOCIETY?
As they are so rich in vital nutrients they constitute 'full',
nutritionally 'dense' food, of which we need to eat far less
than we do the 'empty', nutritionally 'poor' food that so
dominates our diets and lives today.
THE ROLE OF FORAGING IN OUR COUNTRY AND
AROUND THE WORLD
IN TODAY’S CONTEMPORARY SOCIETY THE PHARMACEUTICAL AND FOODSTUFFS INDUSTRIES ARE
THE MAIN PLAYERS RESPONSIBLE FOR THE LACK
OF EXCHANGE OF FOLK KNOWLEDGE RELATED
TO ALTERNATIVE MEDICINE, FORAGING, LOCAL
FOOD SOURCES AND SIMILAR. WITH THE FINANCIAL AND ECONOMIC CRISES CAME A CHANGE IN
ESTABLISHED PRACTICES, INTEREST IN THE LOST
KNOWLEDGE OF OUR ANCESTORS AND THE LOCAL ENVIRONMENT HAS RE-EMERGED.
19

WHAT DREW YOU TO THIS TOPIC, AND DOES
YOUR WORK HAVE AN IMPACT ON THE KNOWLEDGE AND GENERAL INTEREST OF PEOPLE?
Mainly through changes, shifts in attitudes and understanding of what constitutes food and what doesn’t. Edible
wild plants help to change this view: for example, most
weeds are edible and are nutritionally richer than cultivated food. But weeds are not for eating! On the other hand
I was always attracted to plants and mushrooms, so edible
wild plants came to me quite naturally.
In my experience, from the two decades that I’ve been
leading workshops and I’ve written a few books on the
subject of wild food, the understanding and picking of wild
food has spread. More people know more and use a lot of
edible wild plants, and interest has been on the rise.
WHAT ARE THE POTENTIALS FOR CHANGE? DO
YOU KNOW OF ANY EXISTING PRACTICES THAT
YOU FIND PARTICULARLY INSPIRING?
There’s a lot of potential out there: edible wild plants have
become very interesting for restaurants, not to mention
those possibilities connected with self-sufficiency and
independence. What inspires me the most are the plants
themselves, their diversity, their nutritional applications,
healing and other effects.
20

WHO WRITES THE LAWS ABOUT FORAGING? DO
THEY ALSO APPLY TO THE URBAN ENVIRONMENT? DO YOU HAVE ANY EXPERIENCE WITH REGIONAL REGULATORS, LEGISLATION AND SUCH?
As far as I know, the laws are drafted and issued by the
Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Food. Foraging, except for mushrooms, is not precisely specified, since the
article on regulations related to the protection of forests
(that defines recreational harvesting of forest goods) mentions only a (casual) forest visitor, so clearly this does not
apply to meadow or urban foragers. I don't know. Otherwise people are allowed to pick a kilogram per day of
herbaceous plants, as long as we don't pick more than 1/3
of the plants in a certain area. The exception of course are
protected plants and mushrooms that we should not pick.
HOW MANY PEOPLE DO YOU THINK ARE AWARE
OF THE EDIBILITY OF WILD PLANTS AND ARE
SEASONALLY GATHERING THEM; AND ARE
AWARE ANY RELATED POLICIES IN PLACE?
About policies very little; but most are familiar with the
daily-gatherer maximum of two kilograms of mushrooms
per person. It seems to me, however, that more and more
people are getting to know about edible wild plants, and
are picking them, but still very few in relation to the total
population.
21

WHY DO YOU THINK IS BEHIND PEOPLE’S MAKING USE OF FORAGING PRACTICES? HAVE YOU
NOTICED ANY CHANGES IN THE MAKEUP OR
STRUCTURE OF SUCH PRACTITIONERS IN RECENT YEARS?
I think they have various reasons: adding variety to their
daily diet, for a healthier diet, towards self-sufficiency, and
also economizing, saving money, since wild vegetables
and fruits are free, the only "cost" being knowledge and
regular walks out in the natural
environment. In recent years, more and more young people, usually in pairs, are attending wild food workshops –
which I think is a splendid "investment".
WHERE, AND WHAT KIND OF SPECIFICS OF OUR
PLACE DO YOU SEE COMPARED TO SIMILAR PRACTICES ELSEWHERE?
It seems to me that both here in Slovenia and elsewhere
there’s a similar process at work, where we re-discover
forgotten or repressed practices, mainly through literature
initially and then through "practice" in the field. The use
and exploitation of edible wild plants in Europe began to
disappear in the Middle Ages and now we are somehow
gathering and sorting through the data. Not so much in
terms of a return to nature, but in order to determine what
is true and what is not.
22

RECENTLY WE WERE INFORMED THAT A TEAM
OF FRUCTAL WORKERS WAS LOOKING FOR WILD
FRUIT TREES IN THE SLOVENIAN COUNTRYSIDE
AND HARVESTING THEM FOR THE PRODUCTION
OF JUICES. ALSO ON THE SHELVES OF SPAR (SUPERMARKET CHAIN) WE NOTICED DANDELION
AND WILD GARLIC (ALLIUM URSINUM) DURING
THE SEASON. WHAT IS THE ECONOMIC POTENTIAL OF WILD PLANTS? AND WHAT WOULD THE
RESULTING TRENDS MEAN FOR THE (WILD) ENVIRONMENT?
The economic potential is great: 1g of powdered nettle
costs almost 1 euro in a pharmacy! I will not get started on
the possibilities of various food products; a good example of this is wild garlic, which you often find as a canned
good. The main "wild stars" would be difficult to eradicate
even with regular harvesting and processing, because most
are perennial plants, like nettles and wild garlic. And it’s
also possible to cultivate them – wouldn't a field of nettles
be many times more profitable than a field of corn?

23

ADVICE ON URBAN FORAGING
WHERE IS IT PERMITTED TO PICK WILD PLANTS
AND IN WHAT QUANTITIES?
It’s permitted everywhere, except in protected areas where
harvesting is explicitly prohibited, like in natural parks and
the Triglav National Park. According to the Regulations
on the Protection of Forests one person can gather up to 1
kilogram of herbaceous plants. Protected plants we must
not pick.
WHAT METHODS EXIST TO CHECK THE EDIBILITY OF WILD PLANTS (EG. VISIBLE SIGNS OF POLLUTION); HOW CAN PEOPLE RECOGNIZE THEIR
INTEGRITY?
Wild plants that we gather for meals we need to know
very well, to avoid unfortunate confusion with poisonous
plants. Otherwise, I always pick them far away from roads
and other sources of pollution. So we don't gather them
near landfill sites, where they otherwise grow very happily
in city lawns and similar places. But the city park (Tivoli)
is another story, though some people may be bothered that
perhaps dogs might be "watering" them too much.
But these plants usually don't exhibit visible signs of pollution, not even if they grow on a lawn in the middle of the
road. Some wild plants actually like to inhabit such places,
24

which only shows their strength and resilience. There, of
course, we don't gather them for food.
WHAT EQUIPMENT DO WE NEED, AND WHEN
IS IT BEST TO PICK THEM?
The most important season for wild vegetables is spring.
Summer is more the time for wild "weed" vegetables and
wild spices. In the autumn wild fruits ripen, and wild vegetables are still growing. In the winter we can dig up the
sub-soil parts of edible plants if we need to.
In short, throughout the entire year, mostly in spring,
slightly less in summer and then again more in autumn.
Required equipment consists in good hiking shoes, and
certainly baskets or textile bags; and of course a backpack.
And something to protect against the rain, because we
also gather these plants in the rain, right? Otherwise, what
about hunger when it rains?

25

20. JUNE 2014
NOTES ON
PICKING
C H E R R I E S ,
LINDEN & MINT

WHILE FORAGING BY A

R I V E R B A Y A L A D Y,
A BIOLOGIST BY PROFESSION,
S T O P P E D B Y.
SINCE

LIVING IN THE AREA,
SHE’D HAD

A CHANCE TO
N O T I C E H O W
I N V A S I V E

SPECIES
TRANSFORMED
T H E G E O G R A P H Y
O F T H E F U Ž I N E B A Y.

27

It was early summer, a time of year when Ljubljana’s alleys are thick with the scent of linden flowers. Soon after a
group meeting at the Museum we went to have a snack in a
local fast-food bistro called Azzuro. While eating a cheese
burek (a savory, typically Bosnian pastry common for the
Balkan region) we spotted a wild cherry tree, with thousands of ripe cherries, growing just next to the adjacent
newsstand-kiosk. we started to wonder if it would
be ok to climb the tree and pick some cherries,
for their juice. is it allowed to climb on public
trees and pick the fruit?
The next day we borrowed a ladder from the construction
workers at the museum and went to pick the lindens and
cherries for our first collection of local preserves. In our
search for the richest branches we spotted, to our surprise,
a vast variety of wild edible trees: hazelnuts, elderflowers,
cherries, apples, acacias and walnut trees. A self-service
system, taking care that the local wildlife is healthy and
well provided for over the entire year.
After finding the tree and climbing the ladder, we noticed we weren’t the only foragers on the site. The bees
were shamelessly squeezing their legs into the pollen of
the flowers. we should have thought of bringing
some head-cover and a pair of gloves to protect
28

us from the bee stings. After picking
the blossoms from the nearby branches we
wanted to reach the most beautiful fruits,
higher up towards the sky. what kind
of tools could we think of making
to make the branches lower,
accessible?

T4I/1
Bee safe hat

Later on, while publicly picking the fruits
of the cherry, the passing dog walkers and
joggers didn’t seem too interested in our doings. One older man, however, stopped by
and we gave him a taste of this lovely wild
fruit. He thought that these city cherries
were poisonous. Once he’d tasted them he
remembered how living on a farm he used
to climb the trees and pick them when he
was little.
Picking the cherries was a slow process,
since the fruit is small and hard to reach.
Once we had harvested a good amount of
the crop we decided to go home. On the
way we spotted some mint. Picking the
knee-high herb was a breeze compared to
our previous climbing adventure. While

T4I/2
Accesible branches
Stick

29

foraging by a river bay a lady, a biologist by profession,
stopped by. As we talked she mentioned that since living
in the area, she’d had a chance to notice how invasive species such as nutrias (Myocastor coypus), Japanese knotweed
(Fallopia japonica) and the tree of heaven (Ailanthus altissima) transformed the geography of the Fužine bay. In some
parts the vegetation had completely disappeared, in others
it has become overgrown with the new invaders.*
On our way towards the city center, just behind the abandoned Sugar Factory (Cukrarna) we run into two ladies
picking wild grasses to make wreaths and teas to sell at
the market. They showed us some camomiles and told us
about another location near the big btc shopping centre
where a lot of them grow and people come and pick them.
“It’s good to treat ourselves to a camomile bath,” they offered. “It calms us down when we’re feeling stressed or
anxious”. One of them was retired and the other jobless,
trying to earn a basic income for the months to come.
They registered their foraging practice as a complimentary
business (‘dopolnilna dejavnost’) to be able to rent a stall
in Ljubljana’s central market for less than €5 per day. When
we visited them one Saturday morning we had a chance
to view the products of their craft. They make some wonderful wreaths out of different wild grasses, poppy flowers,
even pokeweed (Phytolacca americana), which they start* how can we deal with the emerging vegetational dynamics in times of global migration and climate change – the (edible)
invaders, the climate-change refugees and
the autohtone species for example?

30

ed to pick up for its lovely pink stems and black berries and
actually didn’t really recognise by its name, since it’s a plant
that appeared in our wilds only recently. As we later found
out the plant is good to eat and also has several medical
benefits. For now they sell no more than €20 worth in a
day. it would be great to organise a design workshop,
where we could think about designing their product range ...

31

ON MAKING A DIY JUICER
When we finally arrived home we started to
make the cherry juice and linden and mint
syrups. We looked for some diy juicers on
YouTube, where we learned about the basic
equipment and processes, and decided to
build a tool from what we had found around
our homes. We took a pot, a baking tray
with a hole in the middle, a piece of gauze
and a lid. We poured water in the pot and
set the baking tray on top, on which we fixed
the gauze. In the gauze we put the cherries
and sugar and covered everything with a lid.
The whole thing went on the stove, where
the water boiled and the steam came up
through the hole in the baking tray and infused the cherries. The process took quite a
long time, around one hour, and even then
the juice didn’t run into the baking tray by
itself (like it was supposed to), so we had to
squeeze the cherries in the gauze and then
we got some beautiful juice out of them.

T4I/3
Improvised
Juice Maker

Baking tray
Gauze
Cherries
Cherry Juice
Water

VALUE BEFORE CONTENT
BALANCING ETHICS
Plant Politics
endangered V endangering
-50
Maker’s Satisfaction
joy of work V exchange value
-50

+50

100% super juice from Acerola
cherries Biona, 330ml
(gajbica.si/)

3,10 €
Fructal nectar cherry, 200ml

0,65 €

- 50

Production Dynamics
the level of ethical work V the amount of fed people
-50
- 50
Exchange Value
demand level V availability level
-50

+50

Sustainability Factor
local production V organic production
-50

- 50

LABELLING WORKING TIME
harvesting time / product
27 min/p
preparation time / product
90 min/p
transportation time / means of transport
40 min/bicycle

157MIN/P - 50 PAV *
*PAV = Points of added value, Ballancing ethics
Converted to average Slovenian wage (6,25€/60min) = 16,35 €

WILD CHERRY JUICE
125 ml

34

VALUE BEFORE CONTENT
BALANCING ETHICS
Plant Politics
endangered V endangering
-50

+50

Maker’s Satisfaction
joy of work V exchange value
-50

- 50

Cherry marmalade, 200g
(krasevka.si)

Production Dynamics
the level of ethical work V the amount of fed people
-50
- 50
Exchange Value
demand level V availability level
-50

+50

Sustainability Factor
local production V organic production
-50

- 50

LABELLING WORKING TIME
harvesting time / product
9 min/p
preparation time / product
30 min/p
transportation time / means of transport
40 min/bicycle

79 MIN/P ­+ 10 PAV *
*PAV = Points of added value, Ballancing ethics
Converted to average Slovenian wage (6,25€/60min) = 8,23 €

5,20 €

WILD CHERRY MARMELDE
200g

36

VALUE BEFORE CONTENT
BALANCING ETHICS
Plant Politics
endangered V endangering
-50
Maker’s Satisfaction
joy of work V exchange value
-50

Compote sour cherry stoned,
Mercator, 700g

+50

1,49 €
Compote sour cherry stoned,
Natureta, 700g

2,9 €

- 50

Compote cranberry
Darbo, 400g

4,09 €

Production Dynamics
the level of ethical work V the amount of fed people
-50
- 50
Exchange Value
demand level V availability level
-50

+50

Sustainability Factor
local production V organic production
-50

- 50

LABELLING WORKING TIME
harvesting time / product
24 min/p
preparation time / product
15 min/p
transportation time / means of transport
40 min/bicycle

79 MIN/P ­- 20 PAV*
*PAV = Points of added value, Ballancing ethics
Converted to average Slovenian wage (6,25€/60min) = 8,23€

WILD CHERRY COMPOTE
430g

38

VALUE BEFORE CONTENT
BALANCING ETHICS
Plant Politics
endangered V endangering
-50
Maker’s Satisfaction
joy of work V exchange value
-50

Ecological mint tea, 25g:
(www.si-eko.si)

+50

2,58 €
Three mint pukka organic tea,
32g

4,91€

- 50

Production Dynamics
the level of ethical work V the amount of fed people
-50
- 50
Exchange Value
demand level V availability level
-50

+50

Sustainability Factor
local production V organic production
-50

- 50

LABELLING WORKING TIME
harvesting time / product
5 min/p
preparation time / product
10 min/p
transportation time / means of transport
40 min/bicycle

55 MIN/P ­+ 0 PAV*
*PAV = Points of added value, Ballancing ethics
Converted to average Slovenian wage (6,25€/60min) = 5,73 €

MINT TEA
35g

40

VALUE BEFORE CONTENT
BALANCING ETHICS
Plant Politics
endangered V endangering
-50
Maker’s Satisfaction
joy of work V exchange value
-50

Home made mint syrup, 0,5 L
(www.ekooaza.si/)

+50

3,99 €
Ecological mint syrup 1L
(www.si­eko.si)

5,40 €

- 50

Ecological mint syrup 0,5 L
(naravnedobrote.si)

4,9 €

Production Dynamics
the level of ethical work V the amount of fed people
-50
- 50
Exchange Value
demand level V availability level
-50

+50

Sustainability Factor
local production V organic production
-50

- 50

LABELLING WORKING TIME
harvesting time / product
5 min/p
preparation time / product
10 min/p
transportation time / means of transport
40 min/bicycle

55 MIN/P ­+ 0 PAV *
*PAV = Points of added value, Ballancing ethics
Converted to average Slovenian wage (6,25€/60min) = 5,73 €

MINT SYRUP
1L

42

VALUE BEFORE CONTENT
BALANCING ETHICS
Plant Politics
endangered V endangering
-50

+50

Maker’s Satisfaction
joy of work V exchange value
-50

- 50

Production Dynamics
the level of ethical work V the amount of fed people
-50
- 50
Exchange Value
demand level V availability level
-50

+50

Sustainability Factor
local production V organic production
-50

- 50

LABELLING WORKING TIME
harvesting time / product
30 min/p
preparation time / product
20 min/p
transportation time / means of transport
40 min/bicycle

90 MIN/P ­- 0 PAV*
*PAV = Points of added value, Ballancing ethics
Converted to average Slovenian wage (6,25€/60min) = 9, 38 €

Herbapol Raspberry & Linden
Flower Syrup, 420ml
(www.tasteofeuropeshop.com)

7,34 €

LINDEN SYRUP
1/2l

44

27. JUNE 2014
NOTES
O N
PICKING
N E T T L E
O N T H E WAY
T O C O L L E C T
THE NETTLE

WE SPENT SOME
T I M E W I T H
A G A R D E N E R ,
J O Z O , A N D A L A D Y
W I T H
A F L O W E R
G A R D E N . . .

46

It was another hot Friday and as usual we met around 11:00.
This week we decided to pick some nettle and try to make
a jar of pesto. After another week of working in front of the
computer it was a pleasure to cycle, equipped with a pair of
scissors, gloves, and a few wooden baskets, towards Fužine.
We didn’t know exactly where nettle grew, but we felt it
might be good to check some places close to the river first.
On our way, we passed a line of very nice garden spaces
on the right bank of the Ljubljanica river. We were curious about the stories behind the gardens: to whom they
belong; how the land feeds the people, do the owners
produce food only for themselves, what do they do with
the leftovers? ... We decided to stop and find out. Soon we
spotted an older man, Jozo, a Bosnian immigrant, who had
worked for the former labour association (tozd) Rast,
taking care of the public green paces to which the gardens
used to belong. When we asked him if he had any time
to talk with us about his garden he responded: ‘There are
only two ways of making knowledge – either you share
what you know among the community or you are Nikola
Tesla, and you establish new rules’. And we started to talk.
At Rast he’d had a chance to secure a piece of land from a
friend worker (who planted a cypress which still stands in
the garden as an act of gratitude for his good will) for just
47

30,000 tolars (€125.00), ten years ago. With
his garden he provides food for four families, his and his children’s. He supplies his
relatives with potatoes, lettuce, cucumbers,
string beans, tomatoes, grapes, plums and
more.
He comes to the garden almost every day.
As soon as the winter is over, he starts working on the land, using the knowledge that
was passed to him from his father, who used
to be a farmer in the Southern Balkans.
Keeping moving, Jozo says, means you don’t
have time to think bad things about people.
All his garden infrastructure is improvised
since the municipality might decide to shut
the gardens down any time.* As a result,
he’s constantly on the lookout for tools
that can be re-appropriated, that are lowcost and highly effective. He sticks firm to
the proverb: ‘Everything comes handy in 7
years’, so he rarely throws away anything. In
his improvised diy roof and storage trunk
he stores cardboard inserts for his rubber
boots (so he doesn’t get cold in the win* how to design for
transitions and
uncertainty?

T4I/4
oil barrel disinfection

48

ter) and all the gardening tools and clothes
that shouldn’t get wet. Next to the storage
he’s built himself a rounded sanctuary with
self-standing doors and a plastic bucket in
the middle. He calls it a toilette.
He waters the plants with groundwater he
pumps from the well built by the garden
community. The water was tested and it
turned out to be far better than the water
we source from the public system. Since it
come from the ground it’s only 12° C, so
he’s built himself a few big reservoirs where
it warms up and as such becomes suitable
for the plants.
If you impoverish the land you have to pay it
back by fertilizing every year anew, he says to
us, which is why he buys cow manure from a
not-so-far-away farmer in Štepansko naselje.
Only €60 for a trunk-load, which is easily
enough to fertilize his garden for the entire
year.*

T4I/5
cardboard warmers

corrugated
plastic

bucket

T4I/6
toilette

For the beans and other heavier plants that
need support he uses sticks he picks up
*how to unlock potential
connections between rural
and urban areas?

49

from old trees on the city hill Golovec or he finds them at
btc, the main shopping center close to the area, where big
stores set aside things they don’t find valuable anymore. In
both cases he keeps the cycle going.
He combats vandals with a strong fence, saying he’d be
happy to give his produce to anyone in need but it makes
him really sad when people come and take vegetables and
leave a big mess behind. To prevent this he’s set up two
metal fences.*
When he works he always wears plastic gloves, so his
hands don’t get dry and cracked like his father’s. He let us
pick chamomile from the edge of his garden and eat his
Izabela grapes.
After leaving Jozo to work we passed by lady next to the
river planting some flowers just next to a large Japanese
knotweed that had started to invade her garden. We helped
her to get the water from the river with a plastic bag, observing few a nutrias feeding themselves with the knotweed growing next to the river. We asked her where could
we pick nettles and weather she picked them as well and
she told us of a few spots and gave us a recipe for spinach
from bladder campion, yarrow, nettle and margarine.

*how could we make local
and organic food accesible
to everybody?

50

After walking along the river we reached
Fužine castle and found an oasis of nettles.
We only picked the tips of the nettles, the
upper four leaves, with thin gloves on – so
you can feel the plant, but thick enough so
that you don’t get burned from the nettles.
But as the grandmothers say a nettle’s sting
is good for rheumatism.
When we arrived back home we found an
online recipe and prepared a pesto spread.

T4I/7
Capturing water with
plastic bag for watering
flowers.

51

NETTLE AND
HAZELNUTS PESTO
RECIPE (500G)
Pour some hot water over the nettles. let it
sit for few minutes. Drain the nettles (150g)
and cut on small pieces. Braise the walnuts
until they get a bit of colour. Mix nettles,
walnuts (150g), 1,5 dcl of olive oil and salt
in the a food processor. Pour the mixture
into a sterilised glass. Wrap into towel and
let it cool slowly.

52

VALUE BEFORE CONTENT
BALANCING ETHICS
Plant Politics
endangered V endangering
-50
Maker’s Satisfaction
joy of work V exchange value
-50

Wild garlic pesto Piranese, 2dl
(www.krasevka.si)

+50

7,3 €
Pesto wild garlic vegan,
Bio­verde,125 ml
(www.norma.si)

2,98 €

- 50

Production Dynamics
the level of ethical work V the amount of fed people
-50
- 50
Exchange Value
demand level V availability level
-50

+50

Sustainability Factor
local production V organic production
-50

- 50

LABELLING WORKING TIME
harvesting time / product
54 min/p
preparation time / product
60 min/p
transportation time / means of transport
40 min/bicycle

154 MIN/P ­+ 30 PAV*
*PAV = Points of added value, Ballancing ethics
Converted to average Slovenian wage (6,25€/60min) = 16,00 €

Pesto with basil, Barilla
190g

1,89 €

NETTLE HAZELNUT PESTO
300g

54

VALUE BEFORE CONTENT
BALANCING ETHICS
Plant Politics
endangered V endangering
-50

+50

Maker’s Satisfaction
joy of work V exchange value
-50

- 50

Ecological nettle tea, 25g
(www.si­eko.si)

Production Dynamics
the level of ethical work V the amount of fed people
-50
- 50
Exchange Value
demand level V availability level
-50

+50

Sustainability Factor
local production V organic production
-50

- 50

LABELLING WORKING TIME
harvesting time / product
15 min/p
preparation time / product
5 min/p
transportation time / means of transport
40 min/bicycle

60 MIN/P ­+ 0 PAV *
*PAV = Points of added value, Ballancing ethics
Converted to average Slovenian wage (6,25€/60min) = 6,25 €

2,58 €

NETTLE TEA
35g

56

VALUE BEFORE CONTENT
BALANCING ETHICS
Plant Politics
endangered V endangering
-50

+50

Maker’s Satisfaction
joy of work V exchange value
-50

- 50

Production Dynamics
the level of ethical work V the amount of fed people
-50
- 50
Exchange Value
demand level V availability level
-50

+50

Sustainability Factor
local production V organic production
-50

- 50

LABELLING WORKING TIME
harvesting time / product
20 min/p
preparation time / product
15 min/p
transportation time / means of transport
40 min/bicycle

75 MIN/P ­+ 20 PAD*
*PAV = Points of added value, Ballancing ethics
Converted to average Slovenian wage (6,25€/60min) = 7,81 €

Bio marmalade blackberries &
apples, 250g
(www.lovecnacene.si)

3,19 €

DEWCKBERRY MARMELADE
200g

58

4 . J U LY 2 0 1 4
NOTES ON
P I C K I N G
JAPANESE
K N O T W E E D
W E L E A R N E D T H AT

WE NEEDED TO FIND AS
MANY YOUNG,
F A T A N D J U I C Y
S T E M S
T H A T M A K E A
L O V E L Y
P O P S O U N D

WHEN THEY ARE PICKED.

60

We went to pick the invasive knotweed down by the riverbanks, not far from the pedestrian footpath. The season for
picking knotweed was already a little over, since the stems
are juiciest some time in April. So we were searching for
a space where the public workers mowed the old plants
and the new, soft baby versions began to grow. We started
to pick some flaming young skinny shots, and after some
time realised that the green big plants that grow closer to
the bay and are just perfectly exposed to the sun to provide quite the right crop for harvesting. So we learned that
we needed to find as many young, fat and juicy stems that
make a lovely pop sound when they are picked. After that
lesson, the picking went quite quickly.
Passersby were curious, watching what we were doing, and
one woman approached and asked us if we pick the plants
to feed animals. Which her friend did. We were guessing
maybe rabbits. But no, we were picking them to make fruit
leather and other preserved products. On our way toward
home we found a plum tree by the road and took some
time for a lunch break.
After we made preserves I was left with quite some leftovers on the balcony. Is it safe to throw them away or are we
now becoming new disseminators of the invasive species?

61

MESSAGE FROM
HARUKO
AN ADVICE FROM
A JAPANESE FRIEND
G: Hi Haruko! Hope things are going well for you, I think
of London so many times, I really miss you a lot!
I am making some food experiments at the moment with
Japanese Knotweed, which is considered an invasive species here in Europe. Since the plant originates from Japan,
I was wondering if you know some recipes or common
uses from your culture. Thank you and hopefully we speak
again soon!
H: Hey, had a good weekend? So, I tried to find the recipe
but this plant is not common in the Tokyo area, its more
common in Shikoku (south part) or in the northern part of
Japan. So I Googled it! And here is what I found. First of all,
you need general food pre-treatment to remove the acidic
flavour due to the oxalic acid they contains. I read there are
a couple of ways to do so. The most common way it seems
is to peel off the skin, chop smaller, put the stems into the
boiling water with salt. When the colour changes, drain in
a colander. Then put them into water and leave them for a

* Recipe available at: www.pfaf.
org/user/cmspage.aspx?pageid=44, http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/
hi/8555378.stm

62

day to soak. If you have time, you should change the water
a couple of times.* If you like to keep the crunchy texture,
some people prefer salting to the hot water preparation.
Now the recipes. One common cooking way is to stir-fry.
You can use stems. Cut them into pieces 4cm long. Fry them
in oil. Flavour them with bit of sugar, soy sauce, and your
favourite Katsuobushi (dried bonito flake!). You can also
flavour them with oil, sesame-oil, and bonito flakes. You can
also try to prepare them with sake, soya sauce, mirin (if you
don’t have then use sugar) and sesame oil. Spice them up
with sesame and Japanese chilly powder if you have.
I don’t know if you have ever tried cooking tempura before,
but this recipe sounds delicious as well. Shoots and leaves
are good for this. I’m quite sure you can’t find the readymade tempura flour, so here is the recipe from the internet.*
I researched the nature of the plant too, but the plant is
not considered as dangerous as in Europe and America. I
just read that you can use the root as dyer's-weed! I guess
because people here use the plant more than Americans or
Europeans we have less problems.
Hope it helps,
Haruko
* http://www.go-japanese.com/
tempura-recipe

63

JAPANESE KNOTWEED
LEATHER RECIPE
Peel the knotweed and cut it into smaller
pieces. Boil it with a small amount of water
(just enough to cover the knotweed) and
sugar/honey (the amount depends on how
sweet you want the leather to be) until it is
soft (around 15 min). If you wish you can
also add some fruits (like plums, apples…).
When it is cooked strain the water, and
blend everything into a paste. You store the
leftover liquid as a juice. Spread the paste on
baking paper, about 2mm thick and put it
in an ventilator oven on 50°C. Leave it over
night to dry, when it doesn’t bother anyone
and don’t worry, it won’t get burned!

64

VALUE BEFORE CONTENT
BALANCING ETHICS
Plant Politics
endangered V endangering
-50

+50

Maker’s Satisfaction
joy of work V exchange value
-50

- 50

Production Dynamics
the level of ethical work V the amount of fed people
-50
- 50
Exchange Value
demand level V availability level
-50

+50

Sustainability Factor
local production V organic production
-50

- 50

LABELLING WORKING TIME
harvesting time / product
5 min/p
preparation time / product
15 min/p
transportation time / means of transport
30 min/bicycle

50 MIN/P ­+ 50 PAV*
Converted to average Slovenian wage (6,25€/60min) = 5,20 €
*PAV = Points of added value, Ballancing ethics

J A PA N E S K N O T W E E D L E AT H E R
50g

66

VALUE BEFORE CONTENT
BALANCING ETHICS
Plant Politics
endangered V endangering
-50

+50

Maker’s Satisfaction
joy of work V exchange value
-50

- 50

Production Dynamics
the level of ethical work V the amount of fed people
-50
- 50
Exchange Value
demand level V availability level
-50

+50

Sustainability Factor
local production V organic production
-50

- 50

LABELLING WORKING TIME
harvesting time / product
10 min/p
preparation time / product
20 min/p
transportation time / means of transport
30 min/bicycle

60 MIN/P ­+ 100 PAV *
*PAV = Points of added value, Ballancing ethics
Converted to average Slovenian wage (6,25€/60min) = 6,25€

PICKLED JAPANES
KNOTWEED TIPS
200g

68

VALUE BEFORE CONTENT
BALANCING ETHICS
Plant Politics
endangered V endangering
-50

+50

Maker’s Satisfaction
joy of work V exchange value
-50

- 50

Production Dynamics
the level of ethical work V the amount of fed people
-50
- 50
Exchange Value
demand level V availability level
-50

+50

Sustainability Factor
local production V organic production
-50

- 50

LABELLING WORKING TIME
harvesting time / product
10 min/p
preparation time / product
30 min/p
transportation time / means of transport
30 min/bicycle

70 MIN/P ­+ 100 PAV*
*PAV = Points of added value, Ballancing ethics
Converted to average Slovenian wage (6,25€/60min) = 7,29 €

PICKLED JAPANES
K N O T W E E D L E AV E S
300g

70

JAPANES KNOTWEED &
WILD PLUM JUICE
3dl

71

2 5 . J U LY 2 0 1 4
NOTES ON
C O L L E C T I V E
FORAGING
F O R W I L D
H E R B S
WE HEADED

OVER TO THE
N E A R B Y M E A D O W
NEXT TO THE ROAD.
S O M E P E O P L E
C O M P L A I N E D A B O U T
P O L L U T I O N ,
S O
WE DECIDED TO WALK

T O WA R D S A VA S T
F L O W E R I N G
M E A D O W F U R T H E R
DOWN BY THE RIVER.

73

COLLECTIVE FORAGING
FOR WILD HERBS*
Welcome to our first collective foraging for wild plants!
What are the collective practices in the area of food, be it
food gathering, eating, or conservation of plants found in
our local environment? We will try to answer this question
by creating new spaces and uncovering the existing ones
that, apart from food stores, allow us access to food, spaces
that tell stories of local landscapes and the needs of their
residents.
Lying at the crossroads of urban and rural cultures, the
Fužine neighborhood is the prototype of an urban neighborhood with all of the associated infrastructure, situated
in the vicinity of the large btc shopping area and several
other supermarkets. On the other hand, its position places
it on the very outskirts of the city, surrounded by extensive
farmland along Litijska and Zaloška cesta streets and wild
uncultivated landscape.
In the future, foraging for edible wild plants could be one
of the practices that help us get acquainted with the specifics of our local natural resources and the people around us.

* The text is taken from the
work-paper designed for the
purpuse of the workshop.

WORKSHOP TIMETABLE
4pm - 6pm: collective foraging
6pm - 6.30pm: foraging manifesto discussion
and preparation of teas
6.30pm - 7.30pm: creating scenarios, discussion
Using scenarios created at the workshop, we will be looking into new possibilities of networking, exchange and
social interaction while foraging for food.
We will use some of the questions below as a starting point
for our discussion and collective reflection.
- Which edible wild plants can be found in Fužine?
- Where can we find edible wild plants in Fužine?
- Are we familiar with all edible wild plants? What educational activities could be organized around understanding the
vegetation of one's local environment?
- How can collective foraging be designed and its continuity
preserved over time?
- Do we have access to the plants we want to gather? How can
such access be secured/created?
- What tools are needed for collective foraging and gathering?
- Can there be new activities created around designing necessary tools out of local materials?
75

- What can we do with harvested plants? Can we store them
collectively and how?
- What do we do with surplus plants? What would a local
plant exchange/market look like and what would it offer?
- What is ethical food foraging and how do we raise awareness
about it?
MANIFESTO FOR COLLECTIVE FORAGING
FOR EDIBLE WILD PLANTS
1. Foraging shall be done in groups.
2. Each member of the group shall share their knowledge
with other group members.
3. Foraging shall be performed in an ethical manner*.
4. Crops gathered collectively shall be distributed fairly.
5. Exchanges are encouraged.
6. Recipes shall be collected and distributed.

76

We started to inform people about the collective field trip
through the FB page of our BIO50 group. Surprisingly our
post got 2,177 page visitors. It was a sunny summer day
and the holidays had already started. Around 20 people
came to Fužine castle, mostly local women, but also a family with two girls from the other part of the city, some students and a few husbands. Everyone came well prepared
with trainers, baskets, knives with which to pick the herbs
and cups for the tea. We gathered in front of the castle and
explained that we weren’t experts on edible wild plants,
so the aim of the gathering was to collectivise knowledge,
to learn from each other what plants to pick for the tea.
We also prepared papers with a description of the event,
some questions for reflection and a small map of the area
to make some notes. Initially the group was a bit disappointed, having expected to gain some expert knowledge
instead of sharing their own.
We headed over to the nearby meadow next to the road.
Some people complained about pollution, so we decided
to walk towards a vast flowering meadow further down by
the river.
When Leonora, a group member and plant connoisseur,
joined us she instantly became the new ‘leader’. Most of
the people followed her asking many questions. Although
77

we thought participants would pick a basket of herbs to
have tea stock for the winter, they were mainly picking
samples and writing down the names of the plants.
After about an hour-and-a-half we went back to the community garden we have built behind the museum, and
set up a space to taste the vast varieties of tea samples we
had picked. We prepared hot water infusions from all of
the harvested herbs*. The teas had tags with their names
on them and were on display for people to try and compare. The most popular were the nettle tea for its veggie
taste and fig tea since we were all surprised that it grows in
Fužine and how aromatic and full of flavour the leaves are.
THE HARVEST OF THE COLLECTIVE FIELDTRIP
After degustation followed the discussion around questions we had prepared in advance. At first standard answers were popping up like someone has to organize
events, invite and pay experts to teach people. after a
while we started to get proposals for thinking
around new modalities of self-organised field
trips, foraging as collective physical exercise,
platforms where older people could teach the
young, proposals for a brand of fužine tea, creating a design conference around japanese knotweed, mao becoming a center of such activities

* Nettle, yarrow flowers, red and
white clover, fig leaf, wild mint,
narrow-leaved plantain, hedge
bedstraw, common chicory, young
dewckberry leaves, field wormwood and wild rose flower.

78

VALUE BEFORE CONTENT
BALANCING ETHICS
Plant Politics
endangered V endangering
-50

+50

Maker’s Satisfaction
joy of work V exchange value
-50

- 50

Production Dynamics
the level of ethical work V the amount of fed people
-50
- 50
Exchange Value
demand level V availability level
-50

+50

Sustainability Factor
local production V organic production
-50

- 50

LABELLING WORKING TIME
harvesting time / product
15 min/p
preparation time / product
10 min/p
transportation time / means of transport
40 min/bicycle

65 MIN/P ­+ 0 PAV*
*PAV = Points of added value, Ballancing ethics
Converted to average Slovenian wage (6,25€/60min) = 6,77 €

HERBAL TEA FUŽINE
35g

80

8. SEPTEMBER 2014
NOTES ON
P I C K I N G
A U T U M N
FRUITS
T H R O U G H O U R
C O N V E R S AT I O N W I T H
MARKO WE
FOUND OUT
HE’S AN UNEMPLOYED
E N G I N E E R I N G G R A D U AT E .
WE WERE CURIOUS
ABOUT HIS DOINGS HERE,
A N D H E C O N F I D E N T LY
ANSWERED:
‘IT’S BETTER TO PICK NUTS
THAN
TO LOOK FOR A JOB’…

82

A CURIOSITY INTERVIEW
NOTES BASED ON A
C O N V E R S AT I O N W I T H
M AT I J A P U Š K A R I Č ,
O C C U PAT I O N A L
T H E R A P I S T AT H O M E
F O R T H E E L D E R L Y,
FUŽINE
At the collective foraging workshop we’d heard about interesting practices connected to traditional nature-related
rituals and activities around food, going on in a local home
for the elderly in the Fužine district of Ljubljana. Curious
to know more about their way of working within a highly
specialised urban environment we arranged a meeting with
Matija, one of two employees there responsible for designing and organising the occupational program.
As part of the ‘occupational therapy’ program at the home
and his working partner organise leisure activities for the
residents. Through conversation, therapists make note of
the specific needs and wishes of each resident, the kinds
of activities they’re familiar with, like and can take part in.
83

In large part their interests are very much connected to
traditional rituals related to nature and food, yet they’re
also starting to introduce more contemporary rituals like
Halloween, international dinner parties and such. The aim
is to gather the knowledge and skills that the elderly have
and can use to engage with, which set the framework for
the design of the program.
When they find certain knowledge is missing, they invite
relevant experts to fill in the gaps with lectures and workshops. These events are also open to the general public.
Even during the workshops the learning or knowledge
sharing works both ways. The occupational therapy approach-model in Slovenia is still largely practiced exclusively at health care institutions, even though extending
the practice to other public institutions such as kindergartens, schools and universities in other countries is respected and recognised as valuable.
THE OCCUPATIONAL THERAPY ACTIVITIES
CONNECTED TO FOOD
GROWING, HARVESTING & COOKING
Plums: Making plum jam from the plums growing in their
garden. The elderly also take care of the trees, trim them
and harvest the fruit. Pumpkins: Growing and taking care
84

of the crops, sharing recipes, preparing dishes, saving seeds
for the following year. Grape-picking and making a house
wine they call ‘Fužinčan’. Two van-loads of the elderly
drive to the north-east wine region of Bela Krajina and
pick 300 - 400 kg of grapes. When they return with the
grapes, the residents (together with the disabled that could
not go along on the trip) separate them from the stems.
The home owns a press, which enables them to engage in
the process of winemaking. The grapes are then taken from
the 200l barrel put into a special pot where the residents
monitor temperature, sugar levels, the fermentation process and more. The wine is then tested and approved by
the Agricultural Institute.
FORAGING FIELD TRIPS
Tea picking: Herbs are gathered according to season,
on the eastern edge of the city (Bizovik, Sostro). Two
of the residents are also working on a homemade Jagermaister-like herbal liqueur, using herbs that are harvested
from spring through autumn. The majority of the herbs
grow in the Fužine area. Dandelions and elder flowers are
also picked twice a year – because the residents love them.

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FEASTS CONNECTED TO
LOCAL RITUALS
The home organises food events like Zeljada (cabbage fest), Štrudel fest (strudel fest)
and sausage-making. For these events they
usually collaborate with local farmers, borrowing both the tools and the know-how.
FOOD EXHIBITIONS
Mushroom exhibition: Residents who forage for mushrooms prepare an exhibition
for those who can’t go out into the wilds.
DESIGNING AND COLLECTING
THE TOOLS
They have a lot of tools and machines, some
brought in by the residents. The home owns
a grinder/juicer for apples to make apple
juice and a distiller for making schnapps
(brandy). The therapists and residents also
make their own tools, like a tool for beating cabbage (for making sauerkraut); other
tools they rent from the locals.

2 sticks

30
log

barrel

180cm

T4I/8
Cabbage press

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THE CO-SUSTAINING ECONOMY BEHIND
THE PRODUCTS AND ACTIVITIES
The wine, spirits, jams and apple juice are designed, packaged and labeled by the residents. Most of the products are
used for their own use, while some products are exchanged
during the festive winter events. All of the income from
the fair goes into a common fund and is used for future
projects and activities, a form of self-organisation that frees
them from unreliable public funds. Work activities are
based on solidarity and care, where the more capable elderly residents take care of those less capable by taking on
various tasks. Nevertheless, the therapists always find ways
to include all of the residents equally.
FUTURE POTENTIALS
The occupational therapy methodology is based on combining the needs, capabilities and knowledge of the elderly
community. This way residents’ individual and collective
potentials are developed and exploited in their performance of certain social activities, through caring and sharing knowledge, much of it going back to times when people’s relationship to natural resources and common rural
practices were still a part of the everyday vocabulary. In
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today’s contemporary social reality, where immaterial labour and instability prevail over the value of tactile practices and social rituals, it seems like we are all in need of such
occupational therapies.
by unlocking and releasing their many potentials
we could create stronger links between older and
younger generations, between rural and urban
practices, and material and immaterial knowledge,
opening up spaces for healthier and more inclusive
social environments.
how could such methodologies become part of the
designer’s working ethics and their palette of viable possibilities?

88

After visiting the home for the elderly we
went to the river to pick Hazelnuts. We
noticed they carried an elaborate amount of
nuts early in the summer, so we were a bit
disappointed when we encountered a series
of empty branches. Walking a bit further we
encountered a young man, Marko, foraging
in the bushes. He showed us a method for
gathering hazelnuts. Copying his moves we
shook the hazelnut tree so the almost invisible hazelnuts dropped down which we then
could pick up easily. Through our conversation we found out he’s an unemployed engineering graduate. We were curious about his
doings here, and he confidently answered:
‘it’s better to pick nuts than to look for a
job’… When we asked him about his future
plans he told us he’d probably like to move
out of the country to find a proper job, confessing he can’t really survive harvesting the
local wilds.
Another man stopped by and told us he
used to pick hazelnuts with friends in the
countryside, on their way back from school,
with two stones in hand, one with a little

stone

stone with
a hole

T4I/9
Hazelnut cracking

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hole held in the hand and the other flat, so they could
crack them easily. Now, he complains, children don’t distinguish a cow from a horse, and how all the knowledge
about the environment is gradually being lost. He also
complained about the country’s natural resources being
sold off to foreign investors. He dramatically concluded
that maybe the local youth will need to re-learn how to recognise and find food in the wild if they want to survive.
The first aim of our fieldtrip was to pick some Japanese
Knotweed to realise our idea of making a prototype of the
edible-invasive currency, but we found out that now it was
really too late. The stems were beginning to become very
hard and wooden, even the small ones. But the oasis was
in full bloom and we heard a lot of bees feasting over their
white inflorescences. When no other plants provide food
for the bees, knotweed comes into full-service with her
sweet offer. browsing on the web we found out that
beekeepers in some parts of the world are already
harvesting a monofloral honey with the potential
to become a great late-summer boost to a (bee) colony’s winter pantry.
Besides the flowers, bee lovers have found another use
for Japanese knotweed. The hollow stems are often cut
into lengths and bundled for use as a native bee habitat.
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the stem diameters vary just enough
to provide suitable housing for a wide
range of tunnel-nesting bees, including mason bees and leafcutters.
Next to the knotweed we noticed another invasive plant called Himalayan Balsam
(Impatiens glandulifera), that was recognisable by its explosive seeds. A good way to
pick them is to put them in a bag when you
tear them off, otherwise the seeds pop in
your hand and jump all around. The seeds
have a wonderful nutty taste (similar to
walnuts, hazelnuts). Through our previous
research we discovered that the seeds are a
good source of protein and could be used
for curries, as nut substitutes in bread and
pastries, and can also be prepared into an
ice-tea, the pink blossoms leaking an attractive pink color, and one could replace
a drinking straw with their hollow stems.

T4I/10
The collection of
Himalayan balsam:
seeds explode when
touched inside the bag

On our way home we saw an old woman
foraging on the other side of the river bay.
Now a bit obsessed with making new encounters we stopped by. She was collecting
91

Hawthorn for tea. She told us she likes to go for regular
walks by the river bay and pick plants for the tea on the way,
starting in June and continuing until autumn. This, apparently, is the only productive thing she can do, as she can’t
knit or make pastries seeing as her sight is deteriorating.
We’d almost arrived back at Poljanska, when riding behind
Cukrarna we noticed Hops flowers and Dog rose (Rosa
canina), so we decided to gather them for our collection.

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HAZELNUTS, DOG ROSE,
HIMALYAN BALSAM &
HONEY ENERGY BARS
(180G)
Cut the Dog rose (100g) in half and scrape
out the seeds. Wash out all the hairs. Boil
the Dog rose for 30 min in a little bit of
water. Mash them through a strainer so you
get a red paste. Mix finely ground hazelnuts
(100 g), Himalayan balsam seeds (20g),
Dog rose paste and 1 ½ tbs of honey. You
get a thick dough. You can mold the energy
bars any way you want and you can either
store the in a fridge or dry them in an oven.
What we like about this recipe, is that it is
put together from randomly found ingredients, that just happened to grow at the same
place at the same time, and they very logically form an energy bar. Walnuts for energy
and fullness, dog rose for vitamins and minerals and himalayan balsam for stopping the
spread of an invasive species.

93

VALUE BEFORE CONTENT
BALANCING ETHICS
Plant Politics
endangered V endangering
-50
Maker’s Satisfaction
joy of work V exchange value
-50

+50

Energy bar Energy
Prepare Vegalife,
(www.norma.si), 40g

2,19 €
Ecological Energy bar
(www.kibuba.com), 40g

2,49 €

- 50

Production Dynamics
the level of ethical work V the amount of fed people
-50
- 50
Exchange Value
demand level V availability level
-50

+50

Sustainability Factor
local production V organic production
-50

- 50

LABELLING WORKING TIME
harvesting time / product
15 min/p
preparation time / product
38 min/p
transportation time / means of transport
40 min/bicycle

93 MIN/P ­+ 80 PAV*
*PAV = Points of added value, Ballancing ethics
Converted to average Slovenian wage (6,25€/60min) = 9,69 €

ENERGY BAR FUŽINE
60g

95

I N D E X O F
E D I B L E W I L D
PLANTS

Acacia tree ◆ Acacia greggii
Bishop's weed ◆ Aegopodium podagraria
Canada goldenrod ◆ Solidago canadensis
Cammomiles ◆ Chamaemelum nobile
Chickweed, common ◆ Stellaria media
Clover, red ◆ Trifolium pratense
Clover, white ◆ Trifolium repens
Cherry tree ◆ Prunus avium
Chicory, common ◆ Cichorium intybus
Ground ivy ◆ Glechoma hederacea
Daisy, lawn ◆ Bellis perennis
Daisy, wild ◆ Leucanthemum ircutianum
Daisy fleabane ◆ Erigeron annuus
Dandelion ◆ Taraxacum
Dewckberry ◆ Rubus caesius
Dog rose ◆ Rosa canina
Fig (tree)◆ Ficus carica
Field wormwood ◆ Artemisia campestris
Elderflower ◆ Sambucus nigra

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Hawthorn ◆ Crataegus monogyna
Hazelnut (tree) ◆ Corylus avellana
Hedge bedstraw ◆ Galium mollugo
Hogweed ◆ Heracleum sphondylium
Horse Mint ◆ Mentha longifolia
Hops ◆ Humulus lupulus
Hymalaian Balsam ◆ Impatiens glandulifera
Japanese Knotweed ◆ Fallopia japonica
Linden tree ◆ Tilia platyphyllos
Nettle, stinging ◆ Urtica dioica
Pokeweed ◆ Phytolacca americana
Plantain, narrow-leaved ◆ Plantago lanceolata
Primrose ◆ Primula vulgaris
Shepherd's purse ◆ Capsella bursa-pastoris
Topinambour/Jerusalem artichoke ◆ Helianthus tuberosus
Tree of heaven ◆ Ailanthus altissima
Walnut (tree)◆ Juglans major
Wormwood, common ◆ Artemisia vulgaris
Yarrow ◆ Achillea millefolium
98