It’s been a funny old week down here in Devon. With Spring finally sprung, I look at the delicious delights adorning the hedgerows.
Sadly there seem to be whispers of scallywags taking more than their fair share.
Overharvesting has become a problem. You cannot approach wild edible plants with the same mindset as farmed plants. They are very different.
So I’d like to remind people to harvest what they need only for today and tomorrow.
To avoid taking kilos of wild plants in what feels like the equivalent of a colonial land grab.
The Botanical Society of Britain and Ireland recommend the picking rule of 1 in 20 or 5%.
The culture has gone wrong when wild edible plants end up on supermarket shelves. Or in a wild vegetable box, distributed through national food distribution networks. There’s nothing local about that.
Lots of people have discovered wild edible plants and want to capitalise on them. So they are stripping the Land to fulfil some corporate agenda.
I am of an age where I know my words fall on deaf ears. Yet call out this crap, I will. Regardless of how uncomfortable it makes some people feel.
The argument goes like this. Serve wild edible plants in a restaurant (or from a wild food box) will reconnect people to Nature.
I don’t see it this way.
That’s second-hand living. Remaining on the edge of life and being spoon-fed wild plants does not reconnect anyone.
That’s as disconnected as when children were asked: ‘Where do chickens come from?’
They replied: ‘Tescos’.
Foraging is an immersive, embodied practice. You have to do it. You cannot buy it second-hand in a plastic bag or at a restaurant.
That’s like watching sky-diving and thinking you are doing it. You are not. The more this myth is perpetuated, the sicker human culture will become.
There are ways to integrate wild food plants into existing food systems. But apart from a small minority of land workers and food activists. It’s business as usual regarding profit.
Pillage as much from Nature and to hell with the consequences.
Many non-human species depend on these wild plants. So they are not for human greed and ego-gratification.