Plants Are Dope Link Roundup 10/18/19

For years we’ve known Minneapolis is a great biking city. But recently, it’s also moved toward the top of the list of the best vegan cities in the United States. This begs the question: How do we fare as a vegan biking city?

I moved to Minneapolis a few months ago, and this article in their alt-weekly City Pages examining how easy it is to ride a bicycle to vegan restaurants pretty much illustrates why. Big ups to Charlie Gillmer for writing this.

There are some wonderful wild edible plants scattered across this continent. Pick up a foraging book or take an edible plant class and you’re in for a surprise. You’ll start to see these edible plants everywhere. And then, as you dig a little deeper, brace yourself for another surprise. Hunger can start to make anything look like food. And when the nasty wild plants look appetizing, getting caught in the wilds without food becomes an even more dangerous scenario.

I really want to start getting into foraging, but I’m so afraid. Do you forage? Please leave tips in the comments! I am grateful for articles like “13 Toxic Wild Plants that Look Like Food” by Tim MacWelch for Outdoor Life. That said, these types of articles make me even more nervous. It seems like it’d be really easy to poison yourself.

Photographer Jimmy Fike thinks often of the stories his grandmother liked to tell him, in a lively Southern drawl, about her youth on a farm in rural Alabama. She hunted for wild game and picked persimmons, filberts, and blackberries for cobblers. In 2008, feeling disillusioned with traditional landscape photography and inspired by these family memories, Fike decided to start photographing and digitally illustrating the United States’ rich diversity of wild edible plants.

This Mother Jones article about Jimmy Fike’s photography is pretty cool. It helps me feel more positive about foraging.

Yes, dogs did evolve from wolves, but even wolves don’t survive solely on meat. In the wild, as much as 50 percent of a wolf’s diet may consist of plants. Plus, dogs have come a long way since their wolf days about 33,000 years ago

Plus, proper nutrition isn’t about types of foods, but rather the nutrients it contains. There is nothing in meat that a dog can’t get out of plant foods—especially when dealing with typically processed forms of foods such as pet food. A recent scientific review stated that dogs “do not have a recognized requirement for animal-derived ingredients per se.”

I’ve had friends joke that they hope I didn’t make my dog go vegan with me, and I always respond with no, of course not. I think I try hard not to seem like an over-the-top vegan sometimes, but now that I’m learning dogs can go vegan healthfully from this Quartz article by Brian Kateman…I dunno. What do you think? Would you have your dog go vegan?

“There’s nothing in the plant remotely comparable to the complexity of the animal brain,” says Taiz, of the University of California, Santa Cruz. “Nothing. And I’m a plant biologist. I love plants” — not because plants think like humans, he says, but for “how they live their plant lives.”

Some plants are capable of sophisticated behavior. Wounded leaves can send warning signals to other parts of the plant, and noxious chemicals can deter munching predators. Some plants may even have a version of short-term memory: Tiny sensing hairs that line Venus flytraps’ insect prisons can count the touches that come from a bumbling insect (SN Online: 1/24/16). But plants perform these feats with equipment that’s very different from the nervous systems of animals, no brain required, Taiz contends.

I keep coming across articles arguing either that plants have some sort of consciousness or that they do not. My tendency is to assume they do not, but I find the discussion fascinating. Laura Sanders writes “Plants Don’t Have Feelings and Aren’t Conscious, a Biologist Argues” in ScienceNews.

Photo courtesy of

There’s a plant hotel in London! It’s called the Patch Plant Hotel and they will watch your plants while you’re out of town. I keep seeing articles about this place and I love the photo shoot they did (see the handsome concierge carrying a Bromeliad above). The services are allegedly free. I was wondering what the catch is, and I see Patch is a plant delivery service. Maybe the hotel is more for publicity and marketing than anything? If you’ve used their hotel services, please comment!

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