TikTok star shares the lost art of foraging, and the videos of what she eats are eye-opening

Alexis Nikole Nelson shares foraging videos with her millions of TikTok fans.

We live in a unique time in human history, when most of us have absolutely no idea how we would feed ourselves if we didn't have grocery stores or restaurants to rely on. Sure, some of us know how to garden and some people know how to farm, but most of us would either starve or kill ourselves eating something poisonous if we were left to our own devices to find food in the wild.

Sad, but true.

The art of foraging is totally unfamiliar to most of us, but there's a lot we can learn from those who do it. Alexis Nikole Nelson has made her TikTok channel an educational—and entertaining—exploration of the abundance that's all around us, if we know what to look for.

Nelson has gained a following of millions, making and sharing videos in which she reveals various wild plants and fungi she forages and how she eats them. And it is wild.


Ever heard of curly dock crackers? Or curly dock at all? Maybe you have, but I'd venture to guess most of us haven't. But now we have, and now I want some.

@alexisnikole

WE LOVE A FREE SNACK #learnontiktok #tiktokpartner #curlydock

Nelson's knowledge is vast. She grew up with parents who were outdoorsy and started learning about wild, edible plants at a young age. She forages in her own yard, in parks and in the woods, where she finds all different kinds of mushrooms.

"It's like Disney World, but full of plants and much cheaper food," Nelson told NPR. "You walk in and you see this very vibrant ecosystem that we are a part of. And there's something so fulfilling about it, right? You're just like, I pulled this out of the ground, and now it's sustaining me! So I look into natural spaces and I just see wonder."

Each of her videos is fascinating, full of free food finds from the forest. And they're entertaining as heck.

@alexisnikole

🐔🌳!!! #LearnOnTikTok #TikTokPartner #foraging

"Don't die!" she always jokes at the end of her videos. It's a real warning, as eating wild plants and fungi can be a risky business if you don't know what you're doing.

@alexisnikole

My first time cooking the tender new growth of Resinous Polypore and it SMACKS!! #foraging #resinouspolypore

But there are plenty of books on wild edible plants that can help you distinguish between perfectly edible and deadly poisonous, and Nelson often explains the difference between certain lookalikes.

Nelson is a vegan, but she managed to make some "acorn bacon" that actually looks like bacon.

@alexisnikole

ACORN BACON 🥓 🐿 #foraging #acornbacon

Apparently it doesn't taste like bacon, though. C'est la vie.

Kelp is used in lots of cuisines around the world, but it's not super clear how it gets from beach to brunch. Nelson shares some insights as she makes kelp chips.

@alexisnikole

SEAWEED WEEK ep2: Kelp Chips! 🌊#LearnOnTikTok #TikTokPartner #Seaweedweek

Nelson's bio says she's a "Black forager" and she says that distinction matters.

"Any time you are moving through a space that is not yours, the color of your skin can very easily come into play," she told Kitchn. She said she gets a lot more questions like "Where are you gathering? Whose land are you on? Is that a park?" than her white, male foraging counterparts. "I also get my knowledge questioned a whole lot more," she said.

In one of her videos, she explained more about why it's important for her as a Black woman to be sharing her foraging experiences, from the history of trespass laws to the fear of lynching in outdoor spaces to the fact that she knows what it feels like to be the only person of color involved in an activity.

@alexisnikole

Reply to @morganw425 (please don’t go being mean to the commenter, sweet beans ❤️ I said my piece and I think the conversation can close with that)

Highly recommend following @AlexisNikole on TikTok. You'll definitely learn something new and have a lot of fun learning it.

@alexisnikole

Now is the best time for rose hips imo!! 🌹 They get sweeter and softer as winter goes on!

Moricz was banned from speaking up about LGBTQ topics. He found a brilliant workaround.

Senior class president Zander Moricz was given a fair warning: If he used his graduation speech to criticize the “Don’t Say Gay” law, then his microphone would be shut off immediately.

Moricz had been receiving a lot of attention for his LGBTQ activism prior to the ceremony. Moricz, an openly gay student at Pine View School for the Gifted in Florida, also organized student walkouts in protest and is the youngest public plaintiff in the state suing over the law formally known as the Parental Rights in Education law, which prohibits the discussion of sexual orientation or gender identity in grades K-3.

Though well beyond third grade, Moricz nevertheless was also banned from speaking up about the law, gender or sexuality. The 18-year-old tweeted, “I am the first openly-gay Class President in my school’s history–this censorship seems to show that they want me to be the last.”

However, during his speech, Moricz still delivered a powerful message about identity. Even if he did have to use a clever metaphor to do it.

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Matthew McConaughey in 2019.

Oscar-winning actor Matthew McConaughey made a heartfelt plea for Americans to “do better” on Tuesday after a gunman murdered 19 children and 2 adults at Robb Elementary School in his hometown of Uvalde, Texas.

Uvalde is a small town of about 16,000 residents approximately 85 miles west of San Antonio. The actor grew up in Uvalde until he was 11 years old when his family moved to Longview, 430 miles away.

The suspected murderer, 18-year-old Salvador Ramos, was killed by law enforcement at the scene of the crime. Before the rampage, Ramos allegedly shot his grandmother after a disagreement.

“As you all are aware there was another mass shooting today, this time in my home town of Uvalde, Texas,” McConaughey wrote in a statement shared on Twitter. “Once again, we have tragically proven that we are failing to be responsible for the rights our freedoms grant us.”

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50-years ago they trade a grilled cheese for a painting. Now it's worth a small fortune.

Irene and Tony Demas regularly traded food at their restaurant in exchange for crafts. It paid off big time.

Photo by Gio Bartlett on Unsplash

Painting traded for grilled cheese worth thousands.

The grilled cheese at Irene and Tony Demas’ restaurant was truly something special. The combination of freshly baked artisan bread and 5-year-old cheddar was enough to make anyone’s mouth water, but no one was nearly as devoted to the item as the restaurant’s regular, John Kinnear.

Kinnear loved the London, Ontario restaurant's grilled cheese so much that he ordered it every single day, though he wouldn’t always pay for it in cash. The Demases were well known for bartering their food in exchange for odds and ends from local craftspeople and merchants.

“Everyone supported everyone back then,” Irene told the Guardian, saying that the couple would often trade free soup and a sandwich for fresh flowers. Two different kinds of nourishment, you might say.

And so, in the 1970s the Demases made a deal with Kinnear that he could pay them for his grilled cheese sandwiches with artwork. Being a painter himself and part of an art community, Kinnear would never run out of that currency.

Little did Kinnear—or anyone—know, eventually he would give the Demases a painting worth an entire lifetime's supply of grilled cheeses. And then some.

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