Philip Stark is a wearer of many hats. He’s a Professor of Statistics, Associate Dean of Mathematical and Physical Sciences, and Director of Berkeley Open Source Food (BOSF) at the University of Berkeley in California. Philip is interested in the availability, safety, and nutrition of wild foods. He has focused predominantly on wild greens foraged in ecologically challenged urban environments.
Through his work with BOSF, he strives to increase food equity, sustainability, resilience, nutrition, biodiversity, and gastronomy, increasing the supply of fresh, affordable, nutritious, drought-resistant, low-carbon-impact greens, and providing interesting, delicious ingredients for consumers and chefs.
“I think that teaching people to forage has a lot of value for their lives. It teaches you how to connect with the world in a different way, in a fundamentally human way.”
Philip encourages people to share their skills and knowledge through the BOSF initiative Wild and Feral Food Week which started in 2014. The programme focuses on soil, biodiversity, reducing waste and feeding people well. Their projects include a scientific nutritional assessment of wild foods and weeds from even the most inner-city areas of wasteland.
“It’s about seeing the urban environment as an ecosystem instead of a landscape. You start to see abundance where before it didn’t register. There’s lots of food if you just learn how to recognise it.”