The average New Yorker might see mostly weeds and shrubs when they walk through a greenspace like Forest Park. For Violet Brill, a 16-year-old forager, they’re a source of nutrition and healing. She’s been plucking wild edible and medicinal plants growing on city grounds since she was a child. Now, with the pandemic bringing a renewed interest in foraging, more and more New Yorkers want to pick her brain.  

The daughter of Steve “Wildman” Brill, who is one of the city’s most famous foragers and was arrested in 1986 for eating a dandelion in Central Park, Violet is carrying the torch of eco-conscious leadership to the next generation. “The more people who are connected to it and who are engaged, they’re the ones who’re going to take a stand and try to actually help our environment,” she said. 

Watch our video to hear more from Violet about New York City’s surprising ecological diversity, and how to avoid getting poisoned.