Forage for Food, find wild edible plants
Yet once upon a time, you were a confirmed “hippie” if you did this.
Certainly ‘different’, if not downright weird.
I’m talking about going off to forage for food. As in, walking around and finding food for free. Finding wild edible plants to eat.
Nowadays, though, if not quite mainstream, it has become a lot more popular. Jamie Oliver, Ed Baines, Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall and many other celebrity chefs promote wild edible plants.
Michelin-starred chefs forage for food for their restaurants, knowing that wild edible plants add wonderful natural flavour to their dishes.
Why Forage for Food?
After all, we’ve got supermarkets!
Indeed we do, and very convenient they are too!
Most people who forage for food use what they collect as an ‘extra’. They still use supermarkets and farmer’s markets.
(One woman blogged on CultureChange about living on only foraged food in Portland, Oregon. That’s way too difficult for me, but I really admire her!).
But imagine being able to collect fresh herbs and spices from green spaces, and wild greens that make colourful salads. Some foragers forage for flowers and plants to make tea.
But I Live in a City!
You might be surprised by just how many wild edible plants there are to find and eat, even in a city. In every park and along every walkway you’ll find food. You’ll find fruit in season in parking lot green zones or hanging over someone’s fence. And the other benefit is that you become more familiar with your city or town. In a surprisingly intimate way.
Isn’t it Dangerous?
It can be. At first, you won’t necessarily know what’s safe to eat and what isn’t. That’s why most people start off by reading about it, or by attending foraging classes and walks. You don’t want to eat the wrong thing! Because it’s now so popular, there are plenty of people who will gladly teach you how to identify edibles, as well as how to avoid dangers such as pesticide use. (I’ll list some resources for this).
Many people think gathering anything that doesn’t look like the food we buy at the grocery store is a bit on the risky side.
But as the celebrity chefs and foragers tell us – food is everywhere.
I think perhaps we’ve just forgotten how to find it.