John Rensten (that’s me) lived and worked in London for 20 years before finally escaping to Dorset in 2016. Despite now living in a more rural part of the county, I still run organise numerous urban foraging events, some hosted by myself and others by some very wonderful and extremely knowledgable people that I have “collected” along the way.
In 2004, with a good friend, I opened a successful gastro pub, The Green, in Clerkenwell EC1 and soon found that I could combine my love of foraging with my enthusiasm for running a busy eatery. Actually it was the perfect excuse to get me away from the hectic side of the business and get some more peaceful time in the woods or by the coast. We started to add various foraged items to the menu. Initially I picked lots of delicious wild edible mushrooms, my hobby for a few years previously, also plants like wild garlic and sorrel that I gathered each Easter in Devon and our chef used to make wild garlic mash or garlic and sorrel soup. Seabeet from Dorset was always popular too and soon we had the menu dotted with foraged treats, wild fennel, rose hips, elderberries, samphire, borage, mallow and various seaweeds.
I don’t have the pub anymore but since then, and on a daily basis, I study wild food, pick wild food, obsess about wild food and love sharing what I have leant, running city foraging walks and taking groups mushroom hunting in The New Forest or combing the seashore in Dorset.
I’ve set up Forage London to give city dwellers like myself a chance to enjoy and discover some of the amazing wild foods that grow all around us. I hope you enjoy this site and that you come on one of my walks soon.