Wild food is not free. It's time. Knowledge. Buying books or apps. Making relationships with locals. Picking. Cleaning. Preparing.
There is always a trade.
Foragers are not scavengars. A scavenger takes, but they never give. A forager tends the land according to what the property owner (or rules and regulations) want to have happen. It takes time to learn what should be done with the land, and foragers can help make that change happen by educating landowners about potentially invasive plants, helping to remove them, and planting foragable items instead.
It's a lot of trust to allow someone to manipulate the green space of your property, and it's also a lot of trust to plant something on property you don't own with the idea that you can later eat or use it. It's a two way street. It's an older way of life. It is connected.
We cannot change our society back to the gift economy of the Native Americans. That's not the world we live in, but we can take actions in our own lives to create relationships outside of money.
I've been told my ideas are a spice dream. The phrase "spice dream" can refer to:
1) spice, the mixture of herbals laced with synthetic marijuana to get you high
2) spice, the prophetic drug in the sci-fi book "Dune"
But either way, the message was clear. They did not believe foraging could become part of life. I disagree. I more often than not encounter people who already know so much, but they needed a little push of confidence. I believe Forage Culture is that little nudge in the direction people are already wanting to go.
If you're reading this, I encourage you to share these concepts with a friend. Share one thing you've learned recently, and maybe they'll share that one thing with someone else. Together, in these little ripples, we start including more friends and acquaintances with how to be a forager AND a normal, contemporary person. We will make them want to come shell acorns with us. They will want us to plant bee balm. They will want to enjoy the first blooms of lightly scented magnolia flowers with us in a meal.
What have you shared lately?