Bay Area Forager

Short description

Mia Andler and Kevin Feinstein are behind this very interesting app. The need for people to connect to nature and understand nature better is becoming increasingly important in a time of rapid urbanization and trend when people spend more time in front of a screen. Instead of general knowledge about nature this app allow people to learn about what is possible to eat and what’s not around them.

The combination of two trends, our fascination and passion for food on one side and the curiosity about nature and what we have around us is very powerful.

This is how the app is described:
“You're walking through the park, out for a hike, weeding your garden or camping. You see a wild plant and wonder if it's edible. Or maybe you are a more experienced forager wanting to expand your knowledge and confirm plant ID in a convenient way. Now, with the Bay Area Forager app, all you need to have on you is your phone. You won't even need a cell signal to quick reference that plant you might have forgotten or a new one you need to learn.”

Read more about the app here

The best with the app/supporting initiative

+ Allowing people to connect with nature
+ Using food as a way to help people to understand more about nature
+ Easy to use

The weak parts of the app/supporting initiative

- Only available for SF
- Only available for iPhone
- Does not discuss the global food situation and is generally very much focused on the local without putting it in a global context.
- Costs money

What could accelerate this app/supporting initiative into a world changer?

➢ Provide links to global biodiversity challenges and what people can do to address them
➢ Discuss local and global pollution (what is polluting the food around us and what is making it cleaner, but also how our consumption patterns can pollute or contribute to sustainable habitats in other parts of the world)
➢ Calculations that show savings in land-use and GHG that can be achieved by eating sustainable food and compare this to what is necessary long-term and global.


How direct is the delivery of the result the app tries to achieve
  • Direct
  • Indirect
  • Inspirational
  • Long shot


By allowing people to understand what they can eat around them it is easier to understand the need to protect fertile soil and even more the need to reduce pollution.

Transformative approach

How transformative is it
  • A new world
  • A major shift
  • A bit of a shake-up
  • A gentle rocking


To all of a sudden wake up to a world where food it not something that grows in the grocery store/supermarket, but actually on soil and that it is (still) possible to eat things that grow around us could be an important wake-up call for many that don’t understand how fragile the global food system is.

How much does it encourage collaborations

How much are new networks supported
  • Strong support for global networks?
  • Currently encourages new forms of collaboration
  • Provides interesting opportunities in the future
  • Restricted to a small (expert) group


Today it is not much done to promote collaboration.

What synergies can be delivered

How well does it also solve other problems/generate solutions
  • It solves everything
  • Several important challenges
  • Some important challenges
  • Only one challenge


Identifying food around us will hopefully increase the interest in urban planning, pollution control. The way fast food is processed and how unhealthy it is can also be better understood when it is contrasted to what grows around us. It could also contribute to a better understanding of local cuisines and how eating depending in season can ensure fresh and healthy (and environmental friendly) food.

Nine billion contribution

How global is it? Is it helping/will it help everyone on the planet
  • Instant global equality
  • Almost global
  • Getting (incrementally) global
  • Not applicable


Not very global now, but with small changes it could help people understand what they have and not have.

Building on current trends

How well does it use current trends
  • The app is setting new trends by itself
  • Building on multiple trends
  • Effectively building on one trend
  • Not really building on any major trend


Food and local connections are two key trends. It is however important to make sure that the local trend is not turning into xenophobia.


How fast can it deliver
  • It's already happening
  • In the coming weeks
  • In a year or so
  • In a distant future (hopefully)


As soon as people begin to use it they can change food habits and get inspiration to think more about what part of the food/agricultural system they support with their current consumption/voting.


Does it support transformative transparency
  • Brave new transparency
  • Transparency that is innovative (never seen before)
  • Increased transparency, but nothing innovative
  • No increase in transparency


Local food is important and mobile applications can provide important tools to help identify local food in an easier way, but it is not really anything new.

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