Groundnuts and Bridge Diving

by Green Deane

in Blog

For the second time recently I was reminded of development. My favorite field of lamb’s quarters is now an upscale gated community. And where I used to forage for Apios americana, the groundnut, is million-dollar houses on a brooklet … it doesn’t take much water to increase real estate values.

For tens of thousands of years, perhaps hundreds of thousands, groundnuts grew along this little stream (less than a foot deep, often jumpable.) But houses were squeezed in between it and the road. You know the kind:  4,000 square feet home for a divorced overachiever with 2.4 kids and a .6 girlfriend. And gone were the ground nuts, or at least access to them. I could trespass a business to the south then walk/kayak down stream a mile and float through the gated community, stopping to steal a few but … I understand property rights but we are talking about people who’s view of greenery is golf lawns. I’ll gladly take the groundnuts off their property so they can have more decapitated grass..

There is a growing problem of people controlling access to land they have complete disdain for. This bladder stream is called the Little Wekiva. It joins the Wekiva River. That river  flows some 16 miles to the north to the St. Johns River. I know of no public access to the Wekiva River. There are three places that charge a fee, and of course, there are numerous home owners along the way, the majority of whom can’t tell an orange tree from poison ivy.  Access from one bridge to the river was closed after a dunk underage teenager dove in and died. The logic escapes me: Responsible citizens are banned from the river because an unsupervised idiot dove in head first from a 20-foot bridge into four feet of water. I call that a self-correcting problem and no reason to ban adults from a natural resource owned by all.

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{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

Joyce Forager January 15, 2013 at 16:41

Here’s a suggestion: construction companies ought to allow foragers to gather wild foods on sites on designated days. It would save them the trouble of using herbicide, and foragers could harvest without having to look over their shoulders!

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