Day 6 in Rome: Fellows identify around 12 wild edible plants during an ABD walk

Day 6 in Rome: Fellows identify around 12 wild edible plants during an ABD walk

On 26th June, 2019, the Fellows, along with their new found friends in Rome, went for an agrobiodiversity walk to Giulianello which is 51 kms away from Rome. This session was specifically designed as part of the training session under the leadership of Martina, who is working at Bioversity International. Iseno Tamburlani, a knowledge holder of Giulianello took the team for a walk into their landscapes. During the walks, they identified around 12 wild edible plants.

Members present:

Yani Nofri, TIP Fellow, Indonesia
Chenxiang Marak, TIP Fellow, India
Edgar Monte, TIP Fellow, Mexico
Merrysha Nongrum, TIP Fellow, India
Pius Ranee, Ex-TIP Fellow and TIP Consultant
Martina, Intern, Bioversity International
Arturo Turillazzi, Intern, Bioversity International
Claudia Heindorf, Phd student, Germany
Violet Black, from Malawi, MSc in Human Development and Food Security
Eliot Gee, Research Fellow,  Bioversity International
Gaia Lochetti, Research fellow, Bioversity International
Teresa Borelli, Programme Specialist, Bioversity International

Venue: Giulianello, Rome, Italy

Timing: 9:00 AM- 5:30 PM

Date: 26th June, 2019

Objective: To exchange ideas with the community members of Giulianello in relation to the promotion of agrobiodiversity.

Table 1: List of identified wild edible plants

Sl.  No Name of species  Scientific name  Remarks
1. Asparagus Asparagus –     Creeper plant

–     Leaf parts are used

2 Common reichardia Reichardia  picoides –          It is a green leaf that can be eaten raw
3 St. Bernadict’s thistle, blessed thistle, holy thistle and spotted thistle Cnicus  benedictus –          The tender part is used

–          It was the traditional food of people in the past

–          Big yellow flower and short cooking time

4  Chicory Chicorium intybus –          It is a small plant and has got a bitter taste

–          Can be eaten raw

–          Blue flower

5 Creeping cinquefoil Potentilla replants –          It is a green leafy plant

–          Only the flowers are used

–          It is also sold in the market

6 Fennel Vulgare –          It has a strong smell

–          Used as a condiment

7 Wild hop Lupulus humulus –          Used to make local beer


8 Wild carrot –          It is available only during winter
9 Golden thistle Scolymus –          Difficult to collect because the root stays deep down in the ground

–          It is a green leafy plant

–          The tender shoot and the root can be eaten

10 Wild radish Raphanus, Raphanistrum –          It is a winter plant

–          It has great taste

–          It is also sold in the market

11 Wild bean –      Only the seeds are eaten
12 Wild Black Berry –          The fruit is black in colour

–          Even the tender shoot can be used and fried with eggs

Cooking demonstration: After the walk, the team met a group of dedicated women who prepared lunch for everyone. During lunch time, this group of women sang a number of popular folk songs which centered around food. Interestingly, during the cooking session, few young people were also involved in the process.

At the end of the session, the Mayor of Giulianello gave a thank you note on behalf of his community.

Ideas to take away:

  1. Build the capacity of knowledge holders before engaging for an agrobiodiversity walk in order to increase their confidence level.
  2. Prior to the agrobiodiversity walk, the organiser should prepare the list of local plants both in English and botany. This will give participants a clearer understanding of the plants.
  3. For good documentation, using technologies like drones during the ABD walks is .

Comments from Fellows:

“Introducing wild edibles in the market systems for income generation is a great learning for me.” – Edgar Osvaldo Monte Borges

“A food festival is a good tool to raise awareness on traditional food systems. Through such festivals, communities become more aware of the importance of local food and wild edibles, leading to increased local resilience and food security in the community.” – Chenxiang Marak

“I was happy to see young people engaging with us during the cooking activity. I want to see the same thing happening within my own community. This is my only concern.” – Nofri Yani

“People of Giulianello are proud of their food systems. They are even ready to share their knowledge with anybody. Most importantly, they know much more than we expected about the value of  their food and its nutrition. Also, they are self-reliant in terms of food because every type of food is locally available within their own territory.” – Merrysha Nongrum

New friend of the TIP Fellows: Teresa Borelli is a biologist/ecologist by training. Teresa provides scientific and technical back-stopping to the UNEP/FAO/GEF project ‘Mainstreaming biodiversity conservation and sustainable use for improved human nutrition and well-being’, coordinated by Bioversity. With a keen interest in communicating science, Teresa is also exploring innovative approaches to communicating project outputs and has set up the project Newsletter and BFN Global Portal.

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