Augmented Foraging

Combining the ancient skills of foragers with opensource mobile media.

A mobile phone guide to edible urban wild-food sources. Created in first instance for Amsterdam urban_edibles as an Ushahidi based app for Android phones.

We have chosen Boskoi as a name for the mobile app because it translates as 'grazer' or 'browser' from the Greek 'βοσκοί'. see grazing_hermits
In future we aim at Boskoi versions for several platforms.

The urban jungle

There is a worldwide trend of urbanization where since 2008 for the first time in history more than half of the worlds population lives in cities. What may be less evident is that this is not limited to humans. Many species find themselves living within or moving into urban areas. In the Netherlands the countryside is dominated by industrial agriculture this means the level of biodiversity in a city like Amsterdam is significantly higher than it is in rural areas. In public perception however it is still the countryside that is associated with an experience of nature. So what would happen if the richness of urban wildlife could be made manifest for citizens.

The edible landscape

FoAM is working on creating new networks between humans and non-human city-dwellers. One such tool is Boskoi. In this pilot project we focus specifically on edible species and even medicinal plants and herbs that grow in public space. Working closely with urban-biologists, botanists, cooks, nerds and enthusiastic citizens Boskoi brings the ancient skills and knowledge of foragers to a contemporary platform. Foraging expeditions are organized and meals are prepared by many people in many different cities. This project makes several key issues relevant to people; it generates great interest in what actually lives with us in city landscapes, consuming its fruits makes the health of the ecosystem a mayor concern and it makes the level of dependance on corporate food-systems and the narrowness of the range of edibles within them tangible.

The green river

Mapping the edible urban landscape is updating our view of the city. We can identify it's green arteries and make visible an unseen infrastructure that is vital to the health of its inhabitants. People improve their knowledge of taxonomy, food-preparation, species behavior and get connected to their green surroundings and the rhythm of seasons. New insights and practices are emerging; foraging as a way to constrain invasive species, urban hunting and fishing, the collection of ethnobotanic and ethnoculinary knowledge. Boskoi brings together on one hand; biologists, botanists and gardeners introducing them to opportunities that we think mobile technologies offer to science and on the other hand tech-nerds and youngsters to connect them trough digital media that they live with to the perhaps unknown world of the living environment.
This pilot project and the new insights it generates are the basis of our continuing investigation of the field of augmented ecology.


Functionalities (being implemented):

  • Showing edible or useful wildfood sources in your area.
  • Displaying direction and distance to plant.
  • Providing info on edible parts of the plant.
  • Enabling anyone (with gps on mobile) to upload new entries to the database.
  • Providing links to expert knowledge (botanical, herbal, culinary, ecological)
  • Verifying plant status.
  • Open to mail, sms, twitter.
  • Offering alerts to new additions in your area.

Possible extras:

  • Offering harvesting alerts.
  • Join local foragers and events.
  • Providing a route to a recipe.
  • supporting standard format see: foragemarkuplanguage

Reviews / Interludes

Foraging Maps:

  • augmented_foraging.txt
  • Last modified: 2015-12-03 08:31
  • by