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Tuesday, 25 October 2016

Strange lady walking around carrying a basket and picking up wild-fruits - the lost art of foraging

Hello everybody

Last night I have posted images on my Instagram account, from the latest trip into the wild. I went foraging, yes. When I came home I knew I would like to share the experience with the rest of you, but started wondering about what the world might imagine.
When you think of foraging, do you think of a slightly weird, survivalist-type person picking wild mushrooms, making nettles & dandelion stew and eating roadkill?!

There is no road kill here.
Actually, there is no road here. :)

For a someone as childish and picky-fingers like me, this is the best time of year. Step out of my front door, as I live in the country, and I'm never far from something edible. Walking near my home in my small town, I pass some apples, figs, berries, as well as ripening chestnuts and grapes. And, no one planted any of them. They have grown there, from seeds that fell, got their fair share of water, sunshine and peace. The shrubs, grasses and trees just stand there for anyone to harvest, in public streets, parks and scrub-land, and if you don’t help yourself, most will simply feed the pigeons or rot on the ground - completing the cycle of life in silence.

A shrub like this, perfect in every season:
it has hundreds of five-petal blooms in the spring,
the red buds full of goodness in late autumn
and on a sunny October day, like yesterday.. they are ripe & ready. 

Just like farms, nature puts out its biggest bounty in autumn. Foraging is an art, firstly of preservation the nature's resources. The tender ecosystems that we send ourselves into when foraging must be the fist thing on our minds.  destroy the environment by traipsing around on sensitive habitat, and decimate plant populations by greedily over-harvesting. If you’re going to forage, be ethical about it.

Rosa Canina in late autumn:
this is what the Spring flower grows into when left alone
the hips are picked (mind the thorns!), halved and dried
we make tea by boiling the dried hips in mid Winter 
and remind ourselves of the sense of Spring

I am like the vast majority of foragers, and I claim we do do nothing wrong: taking only as much as we can eat and the tree, bush or forest floor can spare. This is how we're showing respect and honoring the world around us. This is what caring is all about.

Please, remember these 3 small rules of foraging:

1. Honor the Law
Most places require permission from the landowner, even from public lands. Failure to get this permission can lead to fines and even jail time. These laws are in place to prevent over-harvesting and disrespectful damage to the land. To protect public land such as parks, roads, and sidewalks, most local governments consider taking plant material a form of vandalism or theft and treat it accordingly.

2. Honor the Land
When you're done foraging, the land you were on should look the same as (or better than) when you arrived. There should be no trace that you were there (but feel free to remove someone else's garbage on the spot) Fill and cover any holes you dig. Don't harvest along trails, go off away from where others walk.

3.Honor the Plant
Never harvest in ways that prevent regrowth/return of the plant. Never tear off leaves or bark; use a sharp knife because clean, smooth cuts heal quickly. Taking a few leaves and fruits from many plants is preferable to all the leaves from one plant.


So, this was a bit different, right?
I hope you don't mind it - and I hope you'll join in on this vintage lifestyle of ours.

1 comment:

  1. In some parts of the UK some types of foraging are starting to cause environmental problems - people overpicking mushrooms, and not using a basket to carry them in (baskets allow spores to escape, whereas plastic/paper bags don't). But things like blackberries and sloes are fine for everyone to pick. I think an awful lot of apples go to waste.