It was the crash of ’08 and the world was scrambling. Out of this shock, people started wondering – Could I survive the zombie apocalypse?
While people were out getting guns and ammo, I got a solar panel and started experimenting with it. “Okay, I got my energy source, now how shall I feed?”
Hey, it all made sense at the time.
I wanted to connect back to my hunting and gathering roots. Something stirred in me to connect back to this primal meditation.
I’ve always thought there was an intelligence in plant’s passivity – Growing grounded roots, letting the wind and animals do their moving, and luring humans into continuing their cultivation and evolution through beauty, fruit, and medicine.
People everyday pass by food. FREE FOOD.
It is right under their feet, in their yards dowsed in chemicals supplied by ironic companies named TruGreen and EnviroPlus. It’s schizophrenic madness.
While my neighbor was mowing his browning winter lawn every few days, I’d put zero effort into letting mine grow into a lush cover crop forest of free nutritious food.
Why become an edible forager?
The most apparent benefit of foraging is being outside in nature. Walking barefoot in the grass, eyes scanning the landscape, the sun shining on your skin and the lungs expanding with fresh air, you become one with nature.
Ain’t no chairs out here – you are squatting and hinging to gather your food. Bending and reaching. It is all low-stress active movement.
You are building pattern recognition. Keeping the plasticity of the brain sharp. Noticing the shapes of leaves and formation of hairs, colors, stems, flowers, fruit, and seed. Matching up previous knowledge with the present moment.
You make note of the newly formed flowers, acting as alert flags to where future berries will fruit. They can also signal plants that may have been missed during the previous forages.
Foraging leads to other ventures and creativity. Now that you have access to products you can’t normally buy, you have to figure out ways to make them consumable and tasty. There are trail-side nibbles, seasoning, prepping, boiling, frying, inducing, extracting, and fermenting.
You gain access to vitamins, minerals, and other phytonutrients at their peak intensity. These are plants that are surviving without any help, and are producing chemicals to fight off disease and pests. These are chemicals not available in commercially raised produce due to external application.
Anecdotally, I have no issues with allergies and pollen. I contribute this to eating plants that grow in my area and are more than likely covered in the same pollen that is making you sneeze.
Ultimately, foraging syncs you to the present moment in the grander cycle of the four seasons. You are connected to the forces outside your self. It coerces the body to revert to primal movements and brings peace to the mind through present connection. It’s also a very valuable skill to have for survival, and with that can bring even more peace of mind.
Some easy plants to start with are dandelions, violets, clovers, oxalis (sorrel), blackberries, smilax, thistles, lettuce, and chickweed. Please be responsible and research anything before putting it in your mouth.
Plants are badass, especially the ones you can eat. Check out www.EatTheWeeds.com and learn more about edible foraging, and if you are in Florida I’d recommend taking one of his classes.