+
upworthy
Science

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

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!

This could be the guest house.


Inequality has gotten worse than you think.

An investigation by former "Daily Show" correspondent Hasan Minhaj is still perfectly apt and shows that the problem isn't just your classic case of "the rich get richer and the poor get poorer."

Keep ReadingShow less
Kevin Parry / Twitter

Toronto-based animator and video wizard Kevin Parry has gone mega-viral for his mind-boggling collection of videos where he turns himself into random objects.

In a series of quick clips he changes into everything from a pumpkin to a bright yellow banana and in most of the videos, he appears to suffer a ridiculous death. The videos combine studio trickery with a magician's flair.

Keep ReadingShow less
Pop Culture

A brave fan asks Patrick Stewart a question he doesn't usually get and is given a beautiful answer

Patrick Stewart often talks about his childhood and the torment his father put him and his mother through.

Patrick Stewart often talks about his childhood and the torment his father put him and his mother through. However, how he answered this vulnerable and brave fan's question is one of the most eloquent, passionate responses about domestic violence I've ever seen.

Keep ReadingShow less

A map of the United States post land-ice melt.


Land ice: We got a lot of it.

Considering the two largest ice sheets on earth — the one on Antarctica and the one on Greenland — extend more than 6 million square miles combined ... yeah, we're talkin' a lot of ice.

But what if it was all just ... gone? Not like gone gone, but melted?

Keep ReadingShow less
OriginalAll photos belong to Red Méthot, who gave me permission to share them here.

Chloé was born at 32 weeks.


Every single day, babies across the world are born prematurely, which means that they're born before 37 weeks of gestation.

In Canada, about 29,000 infants are born prematurely each year, roughly 1 in every 13. But in the United States, around 400,000 to 500,000 are born early. That's about 1 in every 8 to 10 babies born in the U.S.!

Red Méthot, a Canadian photographer and student, decided to capture the resilience of many of these kids for a school photography project.

Keep ReadingShow less
Democracy

Teacher tries to simulate a dictatorship in her classroom, but the students crushed her

"I’ve done this experiment numerous times, and each year I have similar results. This year, however, was different."

Each year that I teach the book "1984" I turn my classroom into a totalitarian regime under the guise of the "common good."

I run a simulation in which I become a dictator. I tell my students that in order to battle "Senioritis," the teachers and admin have adapted an evidence-based strategy, a strategy that has "been implemented in many schools throughout the country and has had immense success." I hang posters with motivational quotes and falsified statistics, and provide a false narrative for the problem that is "Senioritis."

Keep ReadingShow less