Veritas Viridis – 2

We have discovered dandelion greens. Last weekend, a lack of store-bought ingredients for a salad inspired us to harvest some fresh Spring dandelions just outside the door. We were stunned to discover that their leaves and buds are delicious. We learned that they contain abundant vitamins and minerals, especially vitamins A, C and K, and are good sources of calcium, potassium, iron and manganese.

Our discovery caused us to admire many good things about this lowly plant. A dandelion is a perennial, flourishes  in marginal soils, is drought-tolerant, remarkably persistent and successful in reproduction, looks pretty, feeds bees and other insects, stabilizes soil, has delightfully edible leaves and pods (and the root can be roasted for a compelling coffee substitute), and grows on all continents (well, not sure about Antarctica).

Contrast all those positive qualities with  society’s reaction: people see dandelions as weeds (now there’s a word we should reconsider), use chemicals to eradicate them in favour of grass lawns (which need regular irrigation and application of petro-chemically-derived fertilizer, not to mention mowing with gas-powered or electric machines), buy annuals from nurseries each Spring to plant as temporary decorative flowers and pay hard-earned currency for nutritionally insipid leafy greens shipped from hundreds or thousands of kilometres away to eat in salads.

Our feast of dandelion greens triggered a few insights into attitudes toward sustainability. Resistance to or even rejection of sustainable choices may simply be a reflection of unexamined assumptions carried throughout life, out-of-date thinking or old information: “There’s a great future in plastics,” “Better living through chemistry,” “Mow the lawn.” Often what prevents people from adopting a new idea is failure to let go of an old one. But once you get over that, examples of sustainability are not difficult to find. The humble dandelion is a message for us to see the world differently, an inspiration for us to better align our ways with the ways of nature. Rich nutrition indeed.


About Peter Clark

An international leader in sustainable development and green design, Peter Clark brings a wealth of experience in resort, institutional and commercial development, renovations, property management and operations in Canada and Mexico.

2 Responses to “Veritas Viridis – 2”

  1. Deborah VanSlet June 3, 2011 9:56 am #

    Hi Peter and Julia,
    Congratulations on the website, it looks great, and the time is right for such an initiative.
    About dandelion greens, when I lived in Mile End, there was a small grocer on St.Viateur and Jeanne-mance that sold them, so we ate them all the time, but besides their ubiquitousness, in our parks, I don’t see them very often and so ironically it is a little tricky to get dandelions in your salad on a regular basis. Maybe I should start a dandelion garden on my roof.


  2. Linda Cesaratto August 18, 2011 11:41 pm #

    You two: I’m out in the backyard every Spring –as is my father in his backyard in Ahuntsic, ‘weeding’ the lawn….I pop the dandelions (washed of course) right into the frying pan with some olive oil and a fried egg mixed in: instant omelette! All Italians know this of course, some too ashamed to admit it, not I …..In the old days, and probably more in the old country, this green was a primary source of iron (for women) when meat was not so plentiful…
    PA grocery store on Parc avenue, close to St-Joseph, sells the long leaf dandelion on a regular basis but I never think to buy it…
    Love your site, it is thorough with many nice touches. May lots of wonderful projects come calling!
    hugs, Linda

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