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Get Close to Nature: Wildman Steve Brill.

If you find yourself walking through New York City's Central Park and notice a man eating the plants directly from their source, don't be alarmed. That's Steve Brill, also known as the Wildman, and he has been foraging for food in popular parks in the New York area for three decades.

Brill is a self-taught forager, having learned from textbooks, and wishes to spread his knowledge.

"I'd like to make whole-foods veganism and foraging more common," he said.

He has been giving walking tours for years and has taught people of all ages about the benefits of a whole-foods vegan diet. On his tours, he offers guests samples of his vegan recipes that include the plants he expects he will find on that day. Whole-foods veganism, which means being a vegan that truly lives off the land to Brill, is one of the most important aspects of his life. He credits the diet and his passion for exercise as major contributors to his incredible health at the age of 70.

Though he jokes, he isn't a "full vegan" because "1 eat lamb's quarters, sheep sorrel, pigweed, hen of the woods, and chickweed, and if no one's looking, I won't hesitate to pull out and devour a cattail!"

A unique experience Brill participates in weekly is the opportunity to introduce foraging to children. The children tend to marvel at the idea of eating what many consider to be a useless weed, and Steve's approach to these tours also makes the experience positive. With humor, stories, and helpful facts about nature, anyone taking his tours leaves with greater awareness and memories of an experience unlike any other.

"It's a great feeling to have so much knowledge and be able to spread it knowing I'm doing a good thing and helping the environment and planet we live on," said Violet Brill, his daughter (pictured at left).

His greatest student has now become the teacher herself, as Violet helps lead the tours. Her goal is to continue teaching about foraging, while also pursuing other endeavors to help the environment.

Brill gave himself the moniker "the Wildman." The term came to Steve many years ago, while practicing Transcendental Meditation. To Brill, being a wildman means that he teaches as many people as possible not only about eating raw vegan plants, but also that they should have a love and appreciation for our planet and everything that lives on it.

Through his teachings, Steve has inspired many others to become as wild as they can, a message that should be at the core of any vegan lifestyle. Find out more about Brill and his tours at

Emma Giebel studied chemistry at Loyola University Maryland and interned at The Vegetarian Resource Group.

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Title Annotation:Vegan Action
Author:Giebel, Emma
Publication:Vegetarian Journal
Geographic Code:1U2NY
Date:Jul 1, 2019
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