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Maria Finn with Riley Starks

How Wild Foods Inspire Us to Become a Keystone Species

Tuesday, June 4
7:30 pm PDT
$5 – $25 Sliding Scale
Learn more about Sliding Scale tickets.


The Wyncote NW Forum
1119 8th Ave (Entrance off Seneca St.)
Seattle, 98101 United States
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Note: Town Hall events are approximately 75 minutes long.

Book cover: A wooden platter with mushrooms, berries, cheeses, and oysters. The title "Forage. Gather. Feast." is to the right in an empty space on the platter.
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Forage. Gather. Feast.: 100+ Recipes from West Coast Forests, Shores, and Urban Spaces

The Elliott Bay Book Company

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Headshots of Maria Finn (with light skin, brunette bob) and Riley Starks (with fair skin, baseball cap, white beard, glasses)

It’s easy to think of humanity as the top of the food chain, and that most other things fall into their own little slot somewhere down the ladder. But the reality – especially in an ever-changing world of environmental and technological impacts – is that things are a lot more interconnected than it may seem on the surface. Whether it be the tides flowing to meet the shore or the top layer of tiny seeds and spores on a forest floor, questions present themselves. How deep should we be digging into the natural world right around the corner? And what do we really get out of it, beyond that next appetizer course? In conversation with lifetime PNW sustainability advocate Riley Starks, chef and author Maria Finn dives into the upsides of going one step further than the grocery store and learning a little something extra to take home.

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From keystone species like salmon and oysters to the fantastic world of mushrooms and their mycelial networks, to super carbon sequesters like seaweed – these creatures, fungi, and algae are vital parts of their ecosystems. They are also delicious. Taking stewardship of salmon streams and supporting oyster farms can be a win-win for everyone. In this talk, you’ll learn how wild salmon provide support for over 1000 other species, how oysters can clean and transform bays, the many ways mushrooms aid forest ecosystems, and about the amazing world of seaweed, from disappearing kelp forests to new seaweed aquaculture initiatives in Washington. Maria Finn hopes to encourage participants to make more space for beauty and awe in their lives and to learn from the natural world to create systems – personal and professional – that benefit themselves along with all life on earth.

Maria Finn is a chef, public speaker, and storyteller. She is the author of A Little Piece of Earth: How to Grow Your Own Food in Small Spaces and Forage. Gather. Feast., her debut cookbook. She has written for SaveurEdible Marin & Wine CountryHothouse, and Sunset Magazine. She is the founder of Flora & Fungi Wild Food Adventures and culinary contributor to The Institute for Ecosystem Based Living.

Riley Starks is the executive director of the Salish Center for Sustainable Fishing Methods. He has been involved in the worlds of farm-to-table food and sustainable commercial fishing practices in Washington for over 30 years. He owns and operates Nettles Farm Bed & Breakfast on Lummi Island.

Presented by Town Hall Seattle.

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