We hope you're curious about foraging because we have a whole page of FAQ to get you started! We are always happy to answer any other questions via e-mail or phone.
Do I need to know anything before attending a class?
Yes! Be prepared to be in nature. This means wearing long pants and sneakers or boots, applying sunscreen or bug spray, and bringing warm clothing if it’s going to be cold.
Can’t I just watch YouTube or read a book?
Guidebooks, videos and apps are all great supporting tools for in person learning, but there is no replacement for being out in nature and seeing how things really grow. Learning in person allows you to ask questions and to get repetition, which is the key to retention. It also allows us to show you hazards, such as poison ivy or potential heavy metal sites.
Safety is our #1 goal, and that just can’t be conveyed enough through other mediums.
I’m nervous to be in a group. What precautions do you take?
Our classes are run in spaces where it’s easy to distance, and if we are taking a close look at a plant, Forage Culture guides are trained to create a rotation of students to see OR they will bring a specimen closer to you.
Masks are mandatory, and if there are tastings, we instruct students to maintain a 6ft distance while pulling masks down. Guides also carry sanitizer at all times.
Guest instructors have their own policies, but we all agree: small classes make it easier to distance.
You can find more information on our covid page here [link]
Why don’t you host classes on public land?
It’s illegal & against park regulations, for the most part, without written consent from each individual park to host a paid event on public land. It’s also illegal in most city & county parks to forage.
Most importantly, we want to teach you how to create a relationship with a local landowner, so that you can create your own relationships with farmers, neighbors and local businesses. Foraging can be a wonderful symbiotic relationship, and we teach you how to create a win-win situation every time.
I’m allergic to some things. Is it safe for me to take a class?
Absolutely! We teach everyone how to safely approach plants with a universal technique, and we will warn you if there is a known allergic reaction, however small. We carry Benadryl with us at all times, but if you have a prescription for an epi-pen we encourage you to bring it along just in case. If you know you have a food allergy, let us know! We’ll warn you if the plants we cover are a relative of the ones you’re allergic to so you can avoid them.
What should I expect to learn from my first class with a Forage Culture guide?
At the beginning of the class we will highlight our “SELLing” technique for approaching ALL situations safely. Then we will learn about 4-7 plants or fungi on the host property.
Why do you have classes on the same property?
Plants change every season, and even the same plant can look very different from one month to the next. Going to the same location allows you to create repetition which is the real key to retaining information.
How is a guest guide different from a regular guide?
A Forage Culture staff guide will teach you a foundational set of rules, called the S.E.L.L. technique, that you can carry with you throughout every class, foraging walk or general exploration, and they will focus on helping you to understand how to create a foraging relationship with landowners. These classes have a similar structure to create consistency in the learning process, and they are highly focused on strong, foundational knowledge.
Guest guides and non-staff guides are experts in foraging who enhance your knowledge in more specific areas such and will lead their classes in a variety of different styles. Some will give you broad amounts of information and others will allow you to test your own knowledge in identification!
We highly recommend doing both!
How long are classes?
Our classes run anywhere from 1 - 2 hours depending on the class.
Are you insured?
Yes, we are fully insured.
What are the dangers of foraging?
The number one danger of foraging is starting without the right foundation of principles. If you begin your journey learning proper respect of hazards instead of uneducated fear, you will find yourself enjoying the process instead of feeling overwhelmed.
Two main parts of foraging cause discomfort or illness and, rarely, death: improper plant/fungi knowledge and lack of environmental awareness. Our S.E.L.L. technique helps you to remember to assess all of those concerns.
There is some risk of allergic reaction, as is true with any new food, but there are ways to reduce this risk and test for allergies ahead of time. Some groups, such as pregnant people or those with existing health conditions, have more risks than others. Always do your research before eating any wild food, and don’t eat anything you’re not 110% confident on the identification.
“I don't want to have to forage every meal. Most people don't want to learn to garden or hunt. But we can change the way we make and get our food so that it becomes food again—something that feeds our bodies and our souls.” Michael Pollan Quotes (Author of The Omnivore's Dilemma)