In essence, foraging is akin to gathering or seeking resources that are vital to survival, such as food, medicines, shelter, and tool-making. Learning and practicing the skills required to survive without our modern systems is so important, yet the vast majority of our people have lost the art of sustainable foraging.
More than a rewarding outdoor physical activity, foraging also builds on traditional knowledge and teaches us that our food is not a commodity. Our current food and farm system is broken, driven by big corporations, and no longer values that our food is sacred.
10 Reasons to Start Foraging
- Wild foods are infinitely more nutritious than industrialized food – no GMOs, pesticides, herbicides or other added chemicals
- The forest is a living pharmacy... for real
- Provides an amazing way to connect with Mother Earth and re-examine our values
- Builds upon our intuition aka “magnet”
- Physically challenging and an exciting form of play and exercise – the forest is a playground
- A way to work towards food security beyond gardening
- Its free – or relatively inexpensive and highly accessible
- Sharing foraged goods with loved ones is deeply fulfilling
- Creates a deeper connection to our wild roots & environment – each region is unique
- Excellent for family well-being – exposing children to outdoor activity at a young age is crucial for their well-being
<< Gathering your food from the Earth is a direct way of communicating with the natural world. >>
Benefits for Children
Our children must spend time interacting with nature, walking barefoot on the earth and learning about the power of plants and their importance in our lives.
Nature Deficit Disorder was coined by author Richard Louv in 2005 to describe how children are spending less time outdoors and it’s impacts on their overall health. It causes a decline in vitamin D, depression and a disconnect from the natural world, often leading to allergies and disease.
Exposure to nature can reduce stress levels by much as 28% in children. Time spent outdoors is predictive of higher levels of physical activity in children. Even as little as 20 minutes in a natural surrounding can help children with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) concentrate better. Start them young and dedicate weekly time to engaging in outdoor activity with your little ones.
Learn the sacred science of plant medicine
Tips for Getting started:
- Research your region
- Go to the forest! Go regularly!
- Take pics and gather samples
- Get books & field guides
- Take workshops / expeditions
- Start with few & specific (easily identifiable) species
- Speak to a professional
- Build a network
I love this book, Braiding Sweetgrass by Robin Wall Kimmerer. She intertwines the beautiful teachings of our ancestors, the land and modern science through stories. Read it and gain new insight of how we look to our natural world.