It’s been a funny old week down here in Devon. With Spring finally sprung I look at the delicious delights that adorn the hedgerows.
Sadly there seem to be whispers of scallywags taking more than their fair share.
Over harvesting has actually become a bit of a problem.
For years (and until I am blue in the face) I have taught that you cannot approach wild edible plants with the same mindset and attitude as you would farmed plants.
They are very different.
So I’d like to remind people to harvest what they need only for today and maybe tomorrow.
To not take kilos of wild plants in what feels like the equivalent of a colonial land grab.
When wild edible plants enter the mainstream and end up on supermarket shelves or in some wild vegetable box that is distributed through national food distribution networks. Something has gone deeply wrong with the culture.
It seems everyone has suddenly discovered wild food plants and wants to capitalise on them. Stripping the Land to fulfill some corporate agenda.
I am of an age where I know my words fall on deaf ears. Yet call-out this crap I will. However uncomfortable it makes certain people feel.
The argument goes that just eating wild food plants taken out of a plastic bag, or served in a restaurant will reconnect people back to Nature. I strongly disagree.
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 where once asked: “Where do chickens come from?”. They replied: “Tescos”.
Foraging is an immersive, embodied practice. It has to be done. It’s not something you can purchase second-hand in a plastic bag or in a restaurant.
That’s like watching sky-diving and thinking you are doing it. You are not. And the culture will only get more sick the more this myth is perpetuated.
There are ways to integrate wild food plants into existing food systems, but at the moment, apart from a small minority of food activists, its business as usual when it comes to profit.
Pillage as much from Nature and to hell with the consequences.
There are many non-human species that depend on these wild plants. They are not solely for human greed and ego-gratification!