Daily Distraction: Catch Columbus' Alexis Nikole Nelson in Bon Appetit

The forager and rising social media star takes a deserved turn in the spotlight

Andy Downing
Columbus Alive
Alexis Nikole Nelson inspects a fallen spruce branch while foraging at Jeffrey Park in Bexley

In February, Alive contributor Brittany Moseley spent time with Alexis Nikole Nelson, tracing her rise from amateur forager to an Instagram star with more than 200K followers on the social media platform.

"Nelson is approachable, which in turn makes foraging — a hobby that can seem intimidating to newbies — seem palatable," Moseley wrote. "She offers her followers recipes, book recommendations and history lessons with ease and warmth."

Accordingly, national outlets have started to take notice, including Bon Appetit, which featured Nelson as a "Person of Interest" in a recent online feature.

In the wide-ranging interview, Nelson discussed everything from the mental health benefits that accompany her developing hobby ("Foraging makes me feel I am a part of something bigger… and that feeling is really good at chasing the depression away") to the challenges of being a Black, queer forager.

"I have delightful forager friends who are white, and I notice they don’t get questioned nearly as much as I do. That’s heartbreaking," she said. "When my dad learned that my account becoming viral also meant me becoming susceptible to online harassment, he got angry and told me, 'I’ve been alive for 65 years. It doesn’t feel good that you’re still called into question because of who you are.'”

Read the whole interview at Bon Appetit here and then revisit the below video in which Nelson leads a winter foraging expedition in Bexley's Jeffrey Park.