Aside from the obvious impending zombie apocalypse, there are a whole host of reasons why you want to be a) learning how to forage and b) eating more wild food.
Here are my top reasons…
Wild food is medicinal
For the past 8 years I’ve lived by the axiom ‘let food be thy medicine‘ but it wasn’t ’til Daniel Vitalis added ‘until you realise that your food hasn’t got any medicine left in it anymore’ that I understood I had to up my game (ha, literally).
Sure, vegetables, fruit and clean animal products are still beneficial to our overall health and wellbeing, but the actual MEDICINE has been bred out of our plants (and the plants we feed our animals) and so we need to go back to the source. The source is wild food. There are compounds in wild foods your body needs! Epigenetically. Accessing food outside of the current system and eating more in line with the way your ancestors did (you know, before massive degenerative diseases) will put you on the path to better health. Think it’s too hard? Read this.
Wild food has more nutrition
The food hasn’t been tampered with or bred by humans. Wild plants need no assistance from us humans, merely our respect and adulation. Wild plants are hardy and strong. They make us those things too. Wild food lets you access nutrients that would make the produce in your local supermarket blush!
Foraging is the most exciting thing ever
There’s a reason why I coined the phrase foragasm; excitement, characterised by intensely pleasurable foraging 🙂
Now you might say I need to get out more but the irony of that in a blogpost about foraging would probably kill you or me (but mostly you). Seriously, foraging for food is like a crazy treasure hunt where not only do you not know where the treasure is but you also don’t know what it is or even if it’s there at all! Sounds fun, right? But you’ll understand when you find a wild plant for the first time and you’re excited and smug and definitely not telling anyone its location!
It’s the best health protocol there is
Getting outside, fresh air, vitamin D, sunlight (ahem), walking over uneven terrain, communicating with medicinal plants, consuming them. No amount of gym time can ever compete with this. Check out this banging article about all the different needs just one foraging trip can meet.
You can’t get more local than in your own backyard. I’ll wager you could leave your home right now and find a wild growing edible within 100 metres. Even if you live in the city. You might not care too much about the whole local thing but the system of shipping supermarket fruits and veg from the other side of the world is not sustainable and definitely not groovy for the planet. As soon as we find a local, native to Scotland cacao I am sorted! 🙂
You may not know it but you’re actually an animal. All the other animals on the planet (apart from domesticated ones obvs) are completely in tune with the rhythm of nature. We used to be like that too before we completely closed ourselves off from our environment and the seasons (hello, eating strawberries in Winter).
Don’t get me wrong, I’m as guilty as the next man of accessing out of season produce just because I CAN. But there’s something beautiful and innately intelligent about eating spring greens in Spring and berries in Summer. These foods pop up at these times for a very good reason. Accessing that intelligence will put you on a path to ultimate health – more about preserving wild foods to eat out of season soon!
It has low impact on the environment and it’s FREE
You access what’s around you, you take what you need and leave the rest for nature to take care of. There’s no plastic packaging, no air or road miles, minimal carbon footprint. It’s the ultimate eco-lover’s food of choice! It also teaches you respect for nature. You’ll want to ensure your food is there next year and therefore support the cycle of nature, not fuck it up by ransacking the joint. And yeah, you can’t get much better than free.
I have learned so much about my local environment from my interest in wild food. Curiosity will take you up side roads and down lanes just for the thrill of what you might find. I’ve not only learned about what grows where but discovered brand new foods that I would’ve otherwise gone to the grave (morbid) without ever knowing I loved! On top of that I’ve also learned to identify a shit load of plants, edible and poisonous.
Let’s return briefly to the zombie apocalypse thing. Because zombies. We are so reliant on the current food system that if things were to break down even for a few weeks, because you know, brain-eating maddies taking over the world, then the majority of us would be up shit creek without a hogweed shoot.
We are completely powerless in our own environment because most of us don’t know what natural food we can eat. If zombies aren’t reason enough to pick up a guide to wild food then I literally don’t know what is. Take back your power and learn about the food in your environment. Every other animal is literally made of the food around it. We are made up of food from so many places, completely disconnected from where our food comes from and who brought it to our table. That’s very sad.
It’s an ancient and dying art
Despite the resurgence in popularity of wild food courtesy of top-notch chefs around the globe, the truth is that with every generation we are losing important information about plants and plant medicine. I think every school headteacher should be a shamen. I’ve talked here about the importance of teaching our kids how to forage. We need to keep this knowledge alive and spread it far and wide!
So there you have it in a cobnut shell. I could probably go on all day about the joys of foraging and eating wild food. The truth is you need to get out there and foragasm for yourself.
You won’t regret it!