The Afikomen Project
Coming Home to Nature's Garden
The Afikomen Project is a public wild foods education program. Our goal is to have, by 2030, every child in the United States be able to safely identify and harvest the ten most common wild foods in their area. We are moving towards that goal by training schoolteachers across the country to teach foraging.
The Afikomen Project is the first widespread foraging training initiative in the world. It is based on the well-known proverb, “give people fish and they eat for a day; teach them to fish, and they eat for a lifetime.” We believe that being able to feed yourself from nature is, as much as math and literacy, a basic skill. By teaching children to forage “for food and profit,” we are promoting national food security and establishing sustainable local economies in the process.
Since hunger is closely related to poverty, The Afikomen Project establishes local markets for surplus produce, and this, in turn, funds the project. These wild foods markets serve as a ready outlet for young foragers' “catch of the week,” building their self-worth and local food independence at the same time. In other words, whatever food the children don’t use to feed their families is sold at market. These local wild foods markets are staffed by project-trained experts to ensure proper identification and quality control. Proceeds from the sale of this produce, in turn, pay for future classes.
This local, closed-loop economy is based on the quintessential renewable resource: the bounty of nature. It offers a lasting, effective solution to both food scarcity and unemployment. Foraging feeds people, not through continued dependence on unsustainable industrial agricultural systems, but through community self-reliance. Foraging doesn’t just create jobs; it creates self-employment. This is true American independence.
The Afikomen Project's pilot city is Asheville, North Carolina. Asheville is situated in The Katuah Bioregion, the richest temperate ecosystem on earth. With over one hundred common local wild edibles, all free for the taking, Asheville sits in a veritable “Garden of Eden.” Yet Asheville also has the third worst hunger problem in the country. The Afikomen Project addresses this incongruity with an obvious, permanent solution: by empowering local families to feed and fend for themselves.
The Afikomen Project's initial market is The Asheville Wild Foods Market. The market sells wholesale to over 75 restaurants and retail to the general public.
The Afikomen Project is currently working with The Asheville City Schools Foundation's "In Real Life" program at Asheville Middle School (see photos here). We are seeking funding to expand our program independently to Enka Middle School and beyond. Donations are tax-deductible. For more information, contact us.
The Afikomen Project is endorsed by:
Mike Keenan, Director,
Hokitika Wild Food Festival