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Foraging for Weeds

Foraging for weeds-06
Tiffany and Zo taking a break or maybe talking to weeds while foraging for weeds in the city.

“Remember to bow down, pay attention to the weeds, and salute the land no matter where you go after opening the door.”
~ 雜草町 Grassland

Doraemon’s Anywhere door can lead you anywhere, and the question is, where will you choose to go?

Urban dwellers who long to be in nature are often unaware of the rich abundant world of wild plants, or what are commonly termed as weeds. These unexpected plants, that grow in unexpected places, are often hastily eliminated, but are an essential part of an ecosystem that thrives on biodiversity. Even a tiny patch of weeds is a habitat for many small creatures. Beautiful green spaces that are artificially created by us actually disrespect nature’s ways.

Weed Day is run by two foraging artists, Zo and Tiffany. They use weeds as a metaphor to guide people to observe and identify what’s around them. Through observation and identification, you can become aware of problems in ecology and your relationship with the natural environment. Our urban lifestyle has created a distance between ourselves and nature, perhaps even from ourselves. Re-establishing a connection with nature helps us to reconnect.

Weed Day began in Chiayi nine years ago. Since 2020, they have made a home in Taipei in a remodeled house built during the Japanese occupation period. “Weed Town Grassland” is an art and cultural space. A simple cup of weed tea in this space becomes the beginning of a more profound conversation about the symbiotic relationship between us and the land we live in.

Tea as a part of daily life

Tea being a part of everyday life in Taiwan, they begin by asking you to partake in a cup of tea made with foraged weeds. Each tea is prepared with different combinations of site-specific plants, sometimes more than 20 varieties. Each ingredient is carefully written down to illustrate the diversity of plants that surround us. When foraging, they choose the more dominant and invasive plants, leaving more space for native species resulting in a more biodiverse environment.
Each project is about integration with the community and its needs. Some projects include adopting a space and working with the neighborhood to maintain the natural habitat. Respecting our environment and the land while recognising the value of plant life, weeds and all, provides a deeper insight into our own relationship with self and our surroundings.

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“We welcome anyone to come to our space, enjoy some weed tea, and get to know more about these forgotten plants.”
~ Zo and Tiffany

roma mehta

Roma is a creative consultant, visual artist and event organizer. She enjoys organizing events and workshops that foster cross-cultural expression.

Location:
103 臺北市大同區延平北路三段52號
No. 52, Sec. 3, Yanping N. Rd., Datong Dist., Taipei City 103, Taiwan

Images: Courtesy of Grassland Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Grasslandroot Website: http://www.weedday.org/grassland

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