Wild food gathering was repeatedly found to be one of the most popular outdoor activities in Europe and the commercialization of wild foods is increasingly discovered as bearing significant economic potential. Wild foods are marketed as innovative and trendy products bearing exceptional health benefits and unique flavors and about 100 million EU citizens were estimated to consume wild foods. Urban and suburban areas have high potential for commercializing but also sourcing wild foods but concerns of overexploitation of urban green spaces and unsustainable gathering practices have arisen. Such concerns are hardly ever backed up with scientific evidence about the potential and limits for sustainable harvesting in urban areas.


This project investigates the ecological and socio-political sustainability of wild food gathering in Vienna and thereby aims to support sustainable wild plant gathering in urban and periurban areas.

Research questions

i) Which wild foods do commercial and non-commercial gatherers use?
ii) Which local knowledge about sustainable gathering of wild foods do commercial and non-commercial gatherers have?
iii) How does commercial and non-commercial wild food gathering interact with other land uses?
iv) How does the management of urban green spaces impact sustainable wild food gathering?
v) How do formal and informal regulations govern sustainable wild food gathering?

Project team and duration

Project leader: DI Dr Christoph Schunko / Homepage / FIS / Research Gate / Twitter

Project staff: DI Anjoulie Brandner / Homepage / FIS

Project staff: Bakk.techn. Anna-Sophie Wild / FIS

Project duration: 01.02.2019 - 31.06.2021

Scientific Publications

Schunko, C, A.S. Wild, and A. Brandner. 2021. Exploring and limiting the ecological impacts of urban wild food foraging in Vienna, Austria. Urban Forestry & Urban Greening: 127164.

Schunko, C. and A. Brandner. 2022. Urban nature at the fingertips: Investigating wild food foraging to enable nature interactions of urban dwellers. Ambio.

Brandner, A. and C. Schunko. 2022. Urban wild food foraging locations: Understanding selection criteria to inform green space planning and management. Urban Forestry & Urban Greening: 127596.


Links to other projects

Gathering of wild plant species in organic farming - OrganicWildGathering

Monitoring of Biocultural Diversity im Biospärenpark Großes Walsertal – BioCultural Diversity Monitoring

Media and blog coverage

Blog Wild Schön: Essbare Wildpflanzen in der Stadt – ein Interview mit dem BOKU-Forscher-Team (1.Februar 2020)  (German only)

Vienna Ecosocial Forum: Wildpflanzen in Wien (Juni 2020) (German only)