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Philip B Stark

We're filming California's wildlife this week.

Carney and Kate are currently in San Francisco Bay, Northern California, filming with the deliciously mind-blowing Professor Philip B. Stark.  Philip Stark is Associate Dean and Professor of Statistics in the Division of Mathematical and Physical Sciences at the University of California in Berkeley, and in addition to a huge body of work embracing inference problems and all the science and maths you can muster, he's also a passionate forager who is studying whether urban foraging could contribute meaningfully to nutrition.  

Along with The Botanist Carney has been trotting the globe, hunting for innovative souls who are truly connected with their environment. Professor Stark is one such enthusiast and is investigating nutrition, food equity, and sustainability, starting by investigating the occupancy, nutritional value, and possible toxicity of wild foods in the East Bay as part of the Berkeley Open Source Food Project.  According to the project's research wild and feral foods can improve nutrition, expand diets,

excite palates, save water, reduce waste, increase food security, increase farm biodiversity, and increase farm revenue.  Members of Berkeley Open Source Food advocate for legislation that would replace the use of pesticides on weeds with legal foraging.  The group is also encouraging chefs at Chez Panisse and Mission Chinese to use weeds in "wild" menus.The exciting thing about foraging in the East Bay is that there's an abundance of both urban foraging opportunities and natural spaces in which to look for edible plants. A hike through Berkeley's fire trails, Sibley Volcanic Regional Preserve, or Tilden Park will yield plenty of foraged finds. In the summer, there are wild blackberries and strawberries — the pretty white flowers popping up in early summer will turn into ripe berries by August. Himalayan blackberries are an invasive species that you can find all over the East Bay: Just pick any hiking trail and look for the white flowers or dark fruit.

If you are in the Bay Area, check out this Field Guide to wild growing indigenous edibles - The Bay Area's Baker's Dozen Wild Edibles.

The crew have also had the distinct pleasure of filming with Dr Daphne Miller.  Patients in her San Francisco family practice just call her Dr. Daphne.  It’s a fitting moniker for an upbeat M.D. known to prescribe soup recipes for cold-symptom relief.  Daphne Miller was educated at Harvard Medical School and teaches medicine at the University of California, but her views of health break through convention. Raised by Peace Corps volunteers and back-to-the-landers, this dedicated gardener firmly believes that food is potent medicine.  Her fascinating book The Jungle Effect asks why relatively poor populations in Mexico and Africa have low levels of chronic disease compared to the USA and explores the healthiest diets from around the globe. Farmacology: Total Health From The Ground Up discusses the simple yet critical idea of food as medicine.

Wild fires are currently raging in Southern California, and although there are no active fires in the region, the air is thick with smoke from the Camp Fire in Butte County giving poor visibility and air quality.  Thankfully the crew are safe and well and being very well looked after by Philip Stark who is keeping them in homemade Bay Nut Cookies and good company.