purslane

I’m a big fan of purslane.

Pulled it out of veggie gardens thousands of times as a kid, but it wasn’t until a wise Canadian friend pointed out its benefits that I came to appreciate this inconsequential weed and it’s contribution to food foraging. Enter Eating Niagara, and Tiffany Mayer – a local food writer & advocate from my old home town – everything you could want to know about purslane can be found on her blog. Nutritional content outline and some lovely simple recipe combinations.

And more locally, Tricia from “little eco footprints” in NSW chimes in with some information about the value of purslane as an indigenous foodstuff. I had no idea. It has an extraordinary amount of Omega-3’s (more than any plant stuff apparently), anti-inflammatory properties and was used historically by sailors to protect against scurvy.

I just like the idea of propaganda gardening, that is how any little patch of dirt in the public realm can be turned into a space to grow food. How well suited this little plant would be. Purslane grows abundantly once the hot weather eases and is a perfect autumn salad foodstuff. For example I found my tonne of greens just sprouting on a gravelly  verge in the rather comfortable suburb of Malvern in Adelaide – where most folks wouldn’t be caught dead taking someone else’s weeds home to eat. But that’s kinda why I like the idea. Love to challenge the status quo.

Hence “Purse Lane”. I’d like to name a lane way somewhere here with a moniker that hints of wholesome-retro goodness. And subtly reminds us that sometimes our wealth can be found right under our noses, in our back yards and streets. It would grow bunches of the stuff, and anyone could come and collect it. We could “eat the street”. A bit like Todmorden, where “open source food” grows all around town.

There are plenty of near-deserted back alleys and lanes. Looking into the Greening Alleyway movement that started in Chicago in 2006 and knowing how much effort has gone into the revitalization of back alleys and lanes in the urban centre of Adelaide in recent years I think it’s possible. We even tried it in Niagara a few years back with “Chive Walk”.

That’s about it.

Just a wish and an idea based on a few little flat leaves and a vision for improved local food security and reinvigoration of those dusty pieces of land that are forgotten at the end of suburban backyards……….