The Institute for Ecosystem
Launches March 2024, Events start May 2024
Exploring how human beings can become a keystone species through art, food, science. technology and social practice.
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Available for Preorder!
Praise for Forage.Gather.Feast.
“Flaming Pine Needle Mussels! Stinging Nettle Gnocchi! Cherry Blossom Truffles! With her backwoods bona fides and visionary palate, Maria Finn has taken foraging to the next level. No matter where you live, Forage.Gather.Feast will draw you into a delightful ‘adventure with purpose’ as it unlocks the layers of meaning and deliciousness permeating our woods and coastlines. Your kitchen game will never be the same. Neither will your soul.”
—Rowan Jacobsen, author of Truffle Hound and A Geography of Oysters
“This gorgeous book is a celebration of wild food, foraging, and cultivating connection to the natural world. The recipes inside highlight ingredients from coast to forest and inspire you to get creative, get outside and participate in the surrounding ecosystem; to live a healthier, more pleasurable, and more delicious life.”
—Emma Teal Privat and Claire Neaton, co-owners of Salmon Sisters and authors of The Salmon Sisters: Feasting, Fishing, and Living in Alaska and The Salmon Sisters: Harvest & Heritage
“A deliciously thoughtful book with plenty of recipes for beginning or experienced foragers. I’ll have the mushroom pâté, cheesy pasta with truffles, and a candy cap old-fashioned, please.”
—Alan Bergo, James Beard Award–winning chef and author, and winner of Hulu’s Chefs vs. Wild
“Steeped in the magic of the West Coast, Forage. Gather. Feast. is a beautiful book. Maria’s deeply intuitive approach to cooking celebrates an abundance of wild foods from seaside to forests. Her book will be favorite in my kitchen for a long time.”
—Jenny McGruther, NTP, creator of Nourished Kitchen and Vibrant Botanicals
“With both simple and aspirational recipes, and delightful prose throughout, Maria Finn draws you into a deeper connection to nature through its wonderful, wild foods. Food is the lure, but the end goal is a realignment of human systems in sync with the pace and beauty of Mother Nature.”
—Becky Selengut, author of Good Fish and Shroom
“Forage. Gather. Feast. encourages you to get more awe into your daily diet by spending time in nature—delicious food is the lure. Maria’s recipes will inspire you to head for the woods, waterways, and urban green spaces to forage, gather, and feast your way into a better life.”
—Tiffany Shlain, artist, author, activist, Emmy-nominated filmmaker and founder of The Webby Awards
My talks combine storytelling with concrete ideas and pragmatic takeaways on how nature and good food can teach us to live more regenerative, authentic and joyful lives.
I have given talks at the SOCAP Conference, Chefs Collaborative, the California Academy of Sciences, SXSW eco, Autodesk Pier 9, among many other places. I have told stories for The Moth Mainstage at the Museo del Barrio in New York City and the Grand Slam at the Castro Theater in San Francisco along with many other venues.
Truffle Lust & Puppy Love
The first time I smelled a truffle, it reached inside me and made me want it more than anything in the world. That first, intoxicating whiff led me to my Italian truffle dog, Flora Jayne.
Flora Jayne and I travel to wineries for truffle hunting demonstrations, talks and tastings. As well, I bring the magical world of truffles for companies for talks, tastings and hands on workshops. Flora Jayne can accompany me when appropriate.
How Wild Foods Inspire Us to Become a Keystone Species
Our blood carries the same mineral content as the sea, and our skin has similar bacteria to the soil. We are fractals of planet earth and deep down, we crave nature. Wild foods like seaweed, oysters and salmon can teach and inspire us to create regenerative systems not only for food systems, but also in our own professional and personal lives.
SF Climate Designers/SF Climate Week : Be the Oyster
The more we farm shellfish, the better their (and our) environment gets. Shellfish colonies are considered “Blue carbon” ecosystems as they extract carbon from the water to grow their shells removed from the ocean. Be inspired by these delicious and beneficial creatures.
Stories Told for The Moth
I love telling stories - whether for a full theater like The Castro or The Museo del Barrio or at the small, funky Voodoo Bar in Astoria. Oregon for Fisher Poets or for a community arts festival at Spaulding Marine Works.
Menus as Storytelling
From grazing tables to sit down multi-course dinners, my team and I craft experiences that are inspired by regenerative producers and wild places. Clients include Stochastic Labs, The Center for Humane Technology, MAPS (Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies), Esalen, Gallery 836M, Good People Dinners, The French Ministry for Europe and Foreign Affairs, Catchlight, The Institute of Contemporary Art SF, Ocean Genome Atlas Project, Odd Salon and many others. I also create onsite and offsite experiences with hands on team building through food.
Intertidal Zone Grazing Table as part of the Above Below Collective of Artists & Scientists raising awareness of disappearing kelp forests.
Salmon and Circumambulation Dinner in the Redwoods based on the Mount Tam watershed.
Forest centric grazing table for Paul Stamet's Birthday celebration/MAPS fundraiser
Fertile Void & Keeling Curve Dinners designed for The Center for Humane Technology.
Visit Flora & Fungi Adventures to learn about upcoming wild food and crafting events. Sign up below for the irregular, inspirational, every-once-in-a-while newsletter that's part literary, part natural history, and lists fun stuff to do.
Artist/ Chef Residencies
I was a fellow in the first creative cohort of the Design Science Studio and Living Systems Collaboratory with the Buckminister Fuller Society. I created an augmented reality Pandemic Menu from Spaceship Earth, based on wild foods and the philosophy of Buckminister Fuller. I spent 7 months as an Artist-in-Residence at Autodesk, Pier 9 maker space where I created a Wildcrafting map of the San Francisco Bay illustrated by Iris Gottlieb that’s on display at the SF Exploratorium map room. Other residencies include Writing Between the Vines, The Marin Headlands Center for the Arts and Mesa Refuge.
San Francisco Chronicle: Maria Finn, Dedicated to Using The Whole Fish