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  • I thought I wouldn't be the first person, I thought for sure someone would be not standing

  • behind that but I'm definitely too short so I don't think people can see me. I think I'm

  • supposed to stand on this side of this line but if you don't mind. I've also been loving

  • the presentations and drooling over people's slides. Like I notice Gary you have some nice

  • amaranth in that weed slide. And I also notice that in that clip they had some great lambs

  • quarters. To start, I thought I would start with a little bit about my story because people

  • laugh and they ask me how did you go from being a corporate attorney to a weed forager?

  • So I thought I would tell that because people are going to be wondering that if I don't

  • say. So actually I was born in New Jersey and I worked and lived in Hong Kong for about

  • 12 years. And I met my husband there and had 3 daughters. As you heard before, my youngest

  • daughter had really bad allergies and so I was really concerned and they really couldn't

  • pinpoint what it was. It just was something in the food. That's when I started looking

  • at food packaging and trying to understand the ingredients. I realized I really couldn't

  • understand what all those things were any more. So we moved back to New Jersey. It was

  • a bit of a fixer upper house but it had fresh air and clean water and I wanted to have a

  • vegetable garden because I thought that way I would raise our food and I would know exactly

  • where it was coming from. The problem was that gardening was a lot harder. I am in such

  • awe of you who are farmers here because it's tough. It's a lot harder than I remembered

  • it. You have to do things like double digging and amending the soil and irrigation and all

  • this. Peas have to be planted at a certain time, you can't plant things next to...there

  • were a lot of rules. And then I had been away for a long time and there were things that

  • people had started doing since I was away, you know you see things much clearer, that

  • I didn't remember. Like this huge obsession with mulch, black dyed mulch. Do you notice?

  • People are putting that on all around and the trees look like these weird lollipops

  • but people think this looks nice. So I kind of had culture shock. But needless to say

  • I wasn't as you could tell very good at any of this. And then my mother actually - I'm

  • sort of in this sandwich class, my mother had a stroke and everything just kind of went

  • to seed that year. And the weeds - this is the #2 agricultural weeed, galinsoga - just

  • took over everything. And besides the fact when I tried having these little raised bed

  • gardens, most of the time when you're outside the agricultural season the weeds would be

  • growing. From March through December. So most of the time they were barren and desolate

  • and the only things that were growing there were weeds like dandelion and chickweed. So

  • then I found out there were these things called native plants and native plants had evolved

  • ecologically to be with the landscape, the local landscape, where they grew. You didn't

  • have to do all this stuff. You didn't have to amend the soil, you didn't have to water

  • them, so that suited me fine. Just my style. And they also helped with pollinators and

  • were part of the underlying ecology of the system. The problem was that the native plants

  • had their own weeds and these were even worse. These are called noxious weeds or invasive

  • weeds as so called by the U.S. government, which spends billions of dollars trying to

  • eradicate them. And so one of the worst ones in the world is called Japanese knotweed.

  • And it starts off like this and it ends up like this. And it can actually get under the

  • foundation in your house and start to ruin things. So I was battling all these different

  • weeds, that's what I ended up doing and it really happened when some professor friends

  • of my dad's from Japan were visiting. And I was telling them how I was battling the

  • chickweed and battling the knotweed and that's about all I was doing and they actually apologized.

  • 'So sorry these things from Japan are coming here and causing you problems in this country.'

  • But then the younger professor said, wait I think the knotweed, we call that hidori,

  • the tiger stick in Japan. And it tastes like rhubarb. It's one of our great dishes. And

  • the chickweed, when we see that we have a little memory of the flowers like little stars,

  • we call it hakobe. It's one of the 7 treasures of spring that we eat. So for me that was

  • like, that was the moment, right, when the weeds that I've been trying to battle are

  • great food. So I just started on this kind of obsession of trying to find out all the

  • weeds that were around, going to other people's places and looking at their weeds, researching

  • where they came from and finding out how people ate them. So I could eat them that way too.

  • And then sometimes I think I was lucky because not only with the professors, my in-laws who

  • were Chinese would come and they'd see the day lilies, which people plant in their gardens

  • but they escape into the wild and they're, like, screaming, because this is a delicacy

  • in China because they have a subtropical climate. This is temperate. So it grows here like crazy

  • and in fact in some states it is invasive because it carries out so much. You may recognize

  • it in moo shu pork or hot and sour soup, those little dried things are the buds of the day

  • lily. So sometimes I think, well why is it that all this great food is around us and

  • we don't recognize it? And the only thing I can think is I was lucky because I had my

  • in-laws and the professors and that maybe it's because we're a nation of immigrants,

  • so we've lost the connection with our grandmothers and grandfathers who would know what these

  • things are and are still eating them in different places today. And that all we're really trying

  • to do is just connect us with our past, from where we came from. But of course I don't

  • mean connecting like with caveman days where you know you're walking along and taking a

  • branch and biting it off or grinding up acorns into flour and things like that. I wanted

  • to eat things that were not just edible but delicious. And that's how I thought about

  • taste and I started working with chefs. Because there is a peak season for weeds and there

  • are also parts and when they're good and how to prepare them. Are they better cooked or

  • raw, etc. etc. You could come up with some great recipes that you could have in the home

  • like a wild herb ravioli with chickweed, wild gress, wild garlic and some other things and

  • it has a flavor that's so much more complex than spinach. Or creepy jenny tips taste like

  • pea shoots. You can have an amazing tomato salad. Or the common dandelion. You can pick

  • it when it's very tender and young in the middle, it pairs very nicely with beef and

  • clear noodles. So anyway, this is really fun. I don't know, maybe you think my story's a

  • little bit wacky but I'm really here because you may ask what does this mean for us? Why

  • I try to share this with you is I think that weeds are a part of our future. An important

  • part of our future. How? Well I think as you could see from some of the things that people

  • have been talking about, weeds are the ultimate opportunistic, sustainable plants. All over

  • the world. They can grow in a crack in the sidewalk. This is pineapple weed growing in

  • an unused driveway. It has an amazing flavor. And how? Because they have survival strategies.

  • Sometimes they can have several generations in one year so that's why you can see them

  • when sometimes nothing else is growing. Also the seeds, we heard a little bit about seeds,

  • some of the seeds for weeds can last decades and they've even found some that was in a

  • 1,000 year old stomach of some skeleton they dug up. But one of the most important reasons

  • I love weeds is because they're nutrient dense and flavor dense. And of course they're not

  • being bred for shelf life or yield. They are really offered to us from the bounty of nature.

  • But what does it really come down to? It really comes down to the soil. So we heard people

  • talking about monocultures of industrial agriculture and how that leads to a depleted soil. Well

  • if you have a square meter of wild meadow, 50 plants in a year can grow and there's a

  • huge diversity of micronutrients and organic matter there. So I don't think we can top

  • mother nature. The main thing also about that is that when you have this incredible nutrient

  • density it also means you have incredible flavor density and that's why chefs love it.

  • The other thing that you all probably know is about the problem of diversity of our food,

  • that we're really too dependent on maybe 4 crops: wheat, soybean, rice and corn, yes.

  • How could I forget corn? Tomatoes are one of the probably 25 vegetables that we use.

  • There are 6,000 edible wild plants. So there's all this stuff around us and a lot of it is

  • nothing new. We just have to realize it. This is all why I think weeds are really important

  • but why I'm really passionate about it is because you don't have to build a million

  • green roofs and you don't have to do so much. All it means to start doing this is to change

  • the way we're thinking. We have to change the way we think about what is a weed and

  • what is food. And the second thing is to stop doing some of the things we're doing. Like

  • what? A lot of the pesticide things we're doing. Or all the fertilizing we're doing.

  • Because a lot of the things we're doing are just what? To get rid of weeds. One of the

  • things I also want to talk about is about lawns. We spend so much - a lot of our herbicides

  • are spent on getting rid of weeds in the lawn. Just for purely cosmetic purposes. And we

  • spend about 10,000 gallons of water a year just on watering lawns for every 100 square

  • feet of lawn. And for me from a forager's point of view, this is just a complete - this

  • is my monoculture of wasted space. There's nothing to eat here. And actually they do

  • say that lawns cover 3 times the amount of space in this country as corn. So we talk

  • about waste. And I think, how did we get here? How did we get to this point? And I think

  • it's because the way that we're looking at nature, nature is something that we have to

  • control. And it has to be orderly, in orderly rows, to an extreme. We can't see one little

  • out of place weed. So I think we forget that actually we are part of nature. It's not something

  • separate that we're supposed to control and I say why don't we be a little more messy.

  • Be a little less tidy and more humble in the face of nature. Leave a fallow field. Have

  • a hedgerow. Have a little weedy patch in your vegetable garden or lawn. The Japanese actually

  • call this wabisabi, which is a celebration of that which is asymmetrical and impermanent.

  • So I would urge you next time you see a weed like chickweed in the planter next to your

  • cafe or in your vegetable garden or your farm or any place, why not look at it again and

  • consider trying to get to know it, maybe try and eat it. But I have to pre-warn you that

  • once you embark on this path, you will notice things that are beautiful that you never noticed

  • before. And in the morning when you feel the texture of the herbs and the dew on your hands

  • and the thin rays of the sunlight slant in your eyes, you will feel amazing. We spend

  • our lives chasing after fulfillment and we can find it right all around us, literally

  • under our feet. Thank you.

I thought I wouldn't be the first person, I thought for sure someone would be not standing

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B1 中級

TEDx】我如何做得更少,吃得更好,感謝野草。黃松岡塔瑪在TEDxManhattan的演講 (【TEDx】How I Did Less and Ate Better, Thanks to Weeds: Tama Matsuoka Wong at TEDxManhattan)

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    阿多賓 發佈於 2021 年 01 月 14 日
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