Your guide through this course is seasoned Wild Abundance instructor Luke Cannon, who has practiced wild food foraging for over two decades. More than a botanist, Luke is a long-time pursuer and teacher of the magic and medicine of plants. An avid naturalist, Luke draws from a diverse pool of knowledge, combining his natural history studies with his life experience in organic farming, natural building, permaculture, nature-based mentoring, and rural homesteading.
That's because they're packed with nutrition and are available all the time, whether you can go to the grocery store or not. Many domesticated crops have been bred for hundreds and thousands of years to have a higher water content and more empty calories, making them easier to grow with less inputs, therefore bringing a better price at market. But wild foods have always existed without this manipulation. They also cost a lot less than the fancy packages of green powders you might find at the health food store. Agriculture started about 10,000 years ago, and only in certain parts of the world. For the rest of human history, humans ate wild foods. These are the foods our bodies evolved to eat!
Most of these plants are as likely to be found in an empty lot in Detroit as they are in a garden in rural California, a park in North Georgia, or a backyard in Seattle. No matter where you live, we’ll cover the basics of harvesting wild foods safely.
There are an array of wild foods that are ready and ripe for harvest in every season. The springtime, though, is a very special time. Early to mid and late spring, depending on where you are, offers the greatest diversity of wild foods throughout the year.
We want wild foods to continue to thrive for generations to come. It is extremely important to not deplete the foods that will feed you, other humans, and the rest of the web of life. Please be very conscientious when harvesting of not overharvesting, and harvest with the clear intention of helping rather than hurting native plant populations. Please make sure that plants are abundant before harvesting. We’ll cover more specific guidelines on how to know when to harvest, and how much, during this course.
The continental US includes a lot of diverse bioregions. We find it pretty amazing that we have many of the same common edibles no matter where you go. Most of the ten plants that we cover in this course have followed human migrations from Eurasia and Africa to North America. They are mostly considered weeds, and some are considered invasive.
An invasive species is defined by Wikipedia as “a species that is not native to a specific location, and that has a tendency to spread to a degree believed to cause damage to the environment, human economy or human health.” While demonized by some, others think of these plants as great allies. It's possible to harvest these “invasive” plants without concern for damaging native plant populations.
In the video and written content of this course, we give you thorough identification tips, history, places to forage, fun facts, and cooking tips for the following fabulous plants:
Whether you are foraging in your backyard, on the roadside, or at a woodland edge, you're likely to find these ten wild foods throughout the continental United States, as well as other places around the world with similar climates and influences. Not only will you boost your physical health with these nutrition-packed plants, but you'll get the opportunity to be present in nature while foraging, which has been shown to have numerous positive benefits for mental health. And if you've got kids — bring them along! With adult supervision, teaching kids to forage for their own food can be very empowering.
No matter if you're on the East Coast or West, single or with kids, a first-time forager or a wild foods enthusiast, you'll come away from the course with the practical knowledge and inspiration you need to harvest your own wild foods this spring!