Links -somewhat random....
The Ascent of Humanity: The Age of Separation, the Age of Reunion, and the convergence of crises that is birthing the transition
by Charles Eisenstein
A superb book that explans in inticate detail why (amongst other things!) foraging, that is, being as an integral part of nature unencumbered by delusions of separation, as an activity embracing the wild both 'within' and 'without', can facilitate our discovery and fulfillment of our proper role in both life and death.
The Freeconomy Community
"Helping each other not for profit, just for the love of it ...
Freeconomy is about sharing the skills you've learnt throughout your life and learning those you haven't. It's about helping others and providing an opportunity for others to help you. Freeconomy allows people to make the transition from a money based communityless society to more of a community based moneyless society, and to share the land they don't need or can't use to facilitate a local food community. In essence, freeconomy is about making dinner for a friend who was yesterday a stranger ..." read more
Love this planet. Hate what we are doing to it. Trying to help by raising awareness about the importance of biodiversity and other important issues such as: bees; soil; permaculture; food; ethics; animal rights; growing food; sustainable living and more...
Bushcraft and Survival Skills Magazine
Welcome to the UK's first magazine dedicated to Bushcraft and written by experts.
Interest in bushcraft is at an all time high, its profile being raised by the new availability of information and of course the Ray Mears television series. Bushcraft & Survival Skills Magazine is a valuable resource; enhancing your existing knowledge, teaching you new skills, answering your questions and keeping you up to date with courses and equipment suited to bushcraft use.
Throughout the pages of Bushcraft & Survival Skills magazine you will find Regular and Feature Articles on subjects such as Tracking, Knives & Axes, Foraging, Flint Knapping, Fire Lighting, Wood Lore and Surviving in the Wild, alongside 'How to...' articles showing you how to make your own kit and projects that use nature's resources. There are Book Reviews, Course Reviews & Kit Reviews to help you select and buy wisely, Course, Schools & Store Directories telling you what's happening and when along with where to go for training and kit, Reader giveaways and Competitions enabling you to get hold of some great kit. Most important, is a chance for you to have your say! We welcome readers' questions to put to our ?Ask our Expert? panel, send in your "readers' letters", articles and photographs.
Welcome to chasing spring, a documentary where the season is in control. Follow Izzy and Matt as they track spring from Land's End to John O' Groat's and discover how people are affected by the changing season.
A Walk Around Britain
"Walking and singing our way around the British Isles, we are discovering our land, her people and traditions. Our names are Ed, Will and Ginger. What we find on our journeys, you can find on this website. Peace and Good Health to You and Yours."
The Dark Montain Project
We stand on the edge of an enormous change. A collapsing economy and a collapsing environment are turning the world upside down. Nothing we know or have grown used to is likely to emerge unscathed.
How did we find ourselves here?
We think that an answer can be found in the stories we have told ourselves about who we are: stories of the human triumph over ?nature?; the stories of civilisation.We believe it is time for new stories...........
Woodsmoke - Wilderness bushcraft and survival school based in the English Lake District, offering a variety of activity courses including bushcraft, wilderness survival, tracking, trailcraft, expedition skills, bow making, bush-cookery, wildfoods, canoecraft, axe work, and plant identification.
Our courses are predominately skills based with a large emphasis on you, the student, gaining first hand experience. We guide you carefully through each new subject, introducing new skills in the form of talks, explanation and demonstration, leaving time for you to practice, hone and employ the skills for yourself, under the expert guidance of our instructors.....
Foraging in beautiful West Cornwall
Come and explore the beautiful rugged habitats of West Cornwall and see the abundance of wild herbs, vegetables, fruits, nuts, fungi, flowers and seaweeds we find here. Caroline will take groups of up to 15 people to a variety of different habitats to discover the wild bounty all around us.......
Foraging, sensing, connecting.
Wild food foraging with Cornwall based Rachel Lambert.
Rachel teaches foraging, wild food, nature and body-awareness, and aims to inspire you by sharing skills in a sustainable, practical and meaningful way.
Msitu. From The Forest
Hello and welcome to my website! My name is Mina Said-Allsopp and I am a foraging obsessed food fanatic in Leeds! Mina, like me, beleives that, "knowing more about our food and getting closer to nature is the key to leading a healthier, more sustainable life"
She runs "wild food walks, preserving courses [and] foraging retreats. All of the profits that I make from my courses go to fund the Nuru Shelter and Education Centre. A charity school that my aunt, sister and I run in Malindi, Kenya. So not only will you be learning a valuable new skill, you will also be helping us to build a school and orphanage and lift these children out of poverty..!
US based forager Samuel Thayer's Website. His 2 excellent books, written with such detailed and practical awarness, to that extent, are 100% relevant to foraging in the UK. In both books at least half the plants discussed can be found here. His latest book, Nature's Garden, is worth getting hold of simply for the excellent essay on the true story of In To The Wild's Chris McCandless and other poisonous plant fables.
-->Family Foraging in Kent with the Bushcraft Magazine Crew -->
SPRING FORAY AND COOK-UP - 25 April and at our first SE Bushcraft Meet 2-4 May:This is a popular course. We meet at our site in Kent (between Maidstone and Ashford) and we do a walk in the local area, and gather plants for eating and plants for medicine. We then go back to the site where we prepare and cook our forage. It is also an opportunity to talk to our bushcraft instructors and magazine writers to gather and to swap knowledge!
Really Wild Food and Countryside Festival
- a celebration of food and countryside crafts originating in the wild.
Location: St Davids, Pembrokshire, Wales
Wild Things in Scotland
Wild things! is a Scottish charity seeking to encourage a mutually beneficial relationship between individuals and their natural environment.
Through various enviromental education programmes we seek to inspire young people and adults in the Highland and Grampian Regions of Scotland to develop a greater sense of ownership, care and appreciation of their natural heritage.
Eat Weeds: A forager's wild food guide to the edible plants of Britain.
A good resource for foraging information and inspiration with regular video posts detailing the activities, ideas and reflections of other foragers.
The Field Studies Council
"The Field Studies Council is an environmental education charity committed to helping people understand and be inspired by the natural world. Thousands of students every year experience the FSC through fieldwork and cross-curricular courses at our network of 17 centres across the UK."
The FSC produce a wide range of excellent publications - of particular note are the fold-out and laminated plant guides arranged according to habitat
Ethnobotany is a term used to refer to the academic discipline that deals with people's interaction with plants. As an academic discipline, the definition of Ethnobotany is varied but there are some common elements in the concept. It is broadly defined as the study of the relationship between plants and people (Balick and Cox: 1996:3).
Studying Ethnobotany at The Univertsity of Kent at Canterbury
Ethnobotany is an increasingly important subject. It is essentially interdisciplinary, involving a knowledge of plants and their ecology in the context of their cultural, social and economic significance. This programme, the first graduate course of its kind in the UK, seeks to combine the different strengths of the three institutional partners, each at the forefront of work in its own field: anthropological studies of human-environment interaction and of socio-cultural knowledge of plants in different parts of world (Kent-Anthropology); ecology, conservation science, environmental law and biodiversity management (DICE); plant conservation and sustainable management practices, taxonomy, and economic botany (Kew).
Molecular Gastronomy and Cuisine
Whilst researching how to extract various plant hydrocolloids for use in wild food recipies I stumbled upon this wonderful site from which the definitions below are taken:Molecular Gastronomy is....
- The application of scientific principles to the understanding and improvement of domestic and gastronomic food preparation. (Peter Barham)
- The art and science of choosing, preparing and eating good food. (Thorvald Pedersen)
- The scientific study of deliciousness. (Harold McGee)
- Combining the 'know how' of cooks with the 'know why' of scientists
The focus of molecular gastronomy according to Hervé is to...
- Investigate the social phenomena linked to culinary activity
- Investigate the chemical and physical aspects of the artistic component
- Investigate the technical component by a) modeling definitions and b) collecting and testing culinary precisions, as well as the reasons for their appearance.
Natural Pathways We are dedicated to the teaching of Primitive and Modern Survival Skills and Conservation through Nature Awareness.
We offer a fresh look at our natural world and our relationship within it. One where you can explore beyond the normal skills offered, where you can connect on a much deeper level, raising your awareness about nature and the nature spirits that live within all things
Random wild food supplies and exchange, including seaweeds- if you must sell wild food, this is a nice way to do it.
"Mushroom wood wild food is a one woman part-time business based at a woodland biodiversity project in Scotland. Origionally concieved to sell wild food products, Mushroom Wood also sells wild plants and seeds, plants and seeds of domestic vegtables and herbs, and plant based jewelry."
Agroforestry Research Trust
The Agroforestry Research Trust is a non-profit making charity, registered in England, which researches into temperate agroforestry and into all aspects of plant cropping and uses, with a focus on tree, shrub and perennial crops.
By Girl Interrupted Eating
Sometimes, particularly given its association with the macho imaginings of bushcraft type survivalism, foraging can seem like a purely lone, noble savage, all-male, back-to-nature endeavour. But, on the contrary, it can be a family affair or, as described so well here, a feminine one as well
Wild food gone mad, irrational, slippery and weird - but structurally sound.
Food that comes alive and gives life through creative destruction, collectivism and context construction, physical activation and participation, exploration, training and adventure, ecology and environment, techniques of daily life.
One of my favourite sites if I'm working too hard at the computer and I want to laugh hysterically whilst being entertained and inspired. There is some information on but the absolute sheer delights come from the section and the proactive, creative environmental criticism/activism, e.g and amongst many other fascinating - love the !
Upsetting the offsetters.....
George Monbiot has compared carbon offsetting programs to the sale of indulgencies in medieval Europe:
Ummm, interesting comparison, but nowhere near as good - or hilarious- as the following!
EARTHLINGS is a feature length documentary about humanity's absolute dependence on animals (for pets, food, clothing, entertainment, and scientific research) but also illustrates our complete disrespect for these so-called "non-human providers." The film is narrated by Academy Award nominee Joaquin Phoenix (GLADIATOR) and features music by the critically acclaimed platinum artist Mob
350 is the most important number on the planet (apart from 22 which is my favourite number!).
This number is the safe line for our global climate and a start line for a global movement. Join 350.org to take action in your community, engage our world leaders, and build an international movement to solve the climate crisis.
Living In The Future How? Where? When? Looking to the past, how did we arrive at where we are today?
This video looks back to move forward.
"Less than 400 years ago most people in Britain grew their own food and built their own houses. But parliament wanted money to go to war and monoculture offered a quick return. The Enclosures Act of 1750 separated people from their land and workers from their families.......".continue
Here's just one inspirational initiative - connected to many.
Urban foraging: Wild and alternative foods in the city
This is a fascinating project carried out by Heath Bunting in 1995.
Here is another project/event/happening/celebration concerning wild foods and the urban environment:
Invisible Food - wild food in Brixton for health and resilience
But is urban foraging ethical, asks Justin Rowlatt?
ACORN EDUCATION (The most inspired website I've seen in a long time - including the wonderful story of the coracle journey for peace.
The natural world is a treasure trove of learning and wisdom...
Acorn Education is dedicated to integrating nature and education, providing experiential learning for all of the senses and improving our connections to the natural environment... gaining awareness, a sense of place, a sense of history, roots and culture, arts, crafts, skills and knowledge.
" Outstanding" Chris Faultey, Times Educational Supplement
TRANSITION CULTURE -an evolving exploration into the head, heart and hands of energy descent.
How might our response to peak oil and climate change look more like a party than a protest march? This site explores the emerging transition model in its many manifestations
One Planet Institute
The One Planet Institute is a radical concept combining a suite of environment-related Masters courses with an innovative ?residential programme? organized around the operation of a self-sufficient smallholding. A variety of complementary activities will include foraging & bushcraft, music, woodland management, field botany and natural history. Such visceral and collective engagement with the natural world will function to 'educate the attention' of students, animating formal academic study whilst promoting a self-sustaining culture of reflection and debate. Masters degrees will be offered in a range of overlapping subjects from Sustainable Development and Human Ecology to Bushcraft Studies.
Jon's Bushcraft Site
A lovely inspirational site with some excellent tutorials.
Judy of the Woods
Wellcome to my eco-home in Wales -Permaculture in action.Whether you have projects big or small, live in the city or the sticks, there is something for you. Maybe you want to build a low-cost, eco-friendly home or workshop, get organised, or find ways of making better use of a small space , and if I don't have the answer on my site, check out the indexed, growing links list for a vast collection of resources (most links have a brief description), or use the handy search box below.
Permaculture Courses with Patrick Whitefield Associates
We specialise in high-quality permaculture education. We offer a range of different courses at a variety of venues in England. We hope you?ll find the one that?s just right for you.
Permaculture means learning from nature. The aim is to make our lives more sustainable and more productive while reducing the work and energy required. We do this by taking nature as the model for designing our own houses, gardens, farms, woodlands, towns and villages.
(Fiona Houston and Xa Milne and family - authors of the recently published book Seaweed and Eat it - a family foraging and cooking adventure.)
"Welcome to the Forage Rangers website. Our mission is to help people have fun outdoors hunting for wild foods anywhere plants can grow, from city parks, to country waysides and the sea shore.
We've got practical foraging hints to help you easily find and safely identify the best of the wild foods that grow all round us in Britain.
And we've got the recipes to turn the wild foods that you find into easy-to-cook delicious meals for the dinner table, like wild garlic pesto, nettle gnocchi with Cashel Blue sauce, or chicken soup with hand-picked shredded seaweed straight from the beach."
The Ashden Directory
BRINGING TOGETHER ENVIRONMENTALISM AND PERFORMING ARTS
..."there have been many areas where the performing arts and the environment have overlapped, from this year's Hollywood blockbuster to Ibsen, Chekhov and beyond. But there are many more ways in which this dialogue can be encouraged. In features and interviews for instance, you will find discussions on diversity, the oil industry, and enlightened sponsorship........"
"This blog began as a place to record my acts of illicit cultivation around London. Now it's a growing arsenal for anyone interested in the way against the neglect of public space. Read about other guerrilla gardening victories around the world in Troop Digs, show you support by enlisting and visit the live Community forum to find out what's happening near you and get to war." Richard.
Wild Food Plants Sunny Savage helps us untame our lives by incorporating wild foods into our modern-day diets. She holds an MS in Nutrition Education and has traveled to all 7 continents, learning from the plants and the people along the way. Her vision is that this website will become a clearinghouse of information and resources for wild food plants worldwide.
Tell people something they know already and they will thank you for it.
Tell them something new and they will hate you for it.
The Centre for Nonviolent Communication
-an international nonprofit training & peacemaking organization
The Center for Nonviolent Communication (CNVC) is a global organization whose vision is a world where all people are getting their needs met and resolving their conflicts peacefully. In this vision, people are using Nonviolent Communication (NVC) to create and participate in networks of worldwide life-serving systems in economics, education, justice, healthcare, and peace-keeping.
GoSelfSufficient contains over 70 articles all written by our team of experts and we add around 3 new articles each month. Topics include:
Around the home; Energy and Water; Food and Drink; Foraging; Growing Herbs and Salads; Growing Vegetables; Growing your Own; Growing Your Own Berries; Keeping Animals; Money and Natural Remedies
Wedding Tree Favours
"British trees given as a wedding favour are a neat idea which guests appreciate. They provide an almost timeless reminder of the great day.
They are only £3.50 each. The trees come sealed in their own blister pack for convenience so that the trees arrive fresh and will not need watering over the wedding period. The blister pack also makes it easy for your guests to transport them from the reception to their home.
Each tree has a colour label which pictures the tree fully grown and gives a little information about it.
Could be the start of something big"..........
Litter as Art
Welcome to ?Litter as Art?. It?s amazing what the artists are doing with the litter they find on beaches. Not only are they giving a new perspective of all the litter we are familiar with but hopefully they are also bringing the problem to everyone?s attention.
Freecycle The worldwide Freecycle Network is made up of many individual groups across the globe. It's a grassroots movement of people who are giving (and getting) stuff for free in their own towns. Freecycle groups match people who have things they want to get rid of with people who can use them.
The Bushcraft Magazine This has definitely got to be your first point of call for real detailed and practical knowledge on bushcraft and foraging. All the contributors write from experiece; an experience that connects them and can re-connect us to the landscape.
It'snoteasybeinggreen This is a link to links! Chickenofthewoods has kindly provided a whole list of excellent foraging and bushcraft related links: GO!
Common Ground is internationally recognised for playing a unique role in the arts and environmental fields, distinguished by the linking of nature with culture, focussing upon the positive investment people can make in their own localities, championing popular democratic involvement, and by inspiring celebration as a starting point for action to improve the quality of our everyday places. We offer ideas, information and inspiration through publications and projects......
Frugal Living in the UK
Whether you want to reduce your debts, save for a holiday, stay at home with your children, live more simply or just beat the system a little and end up with more cash, we hope you find something here to help.
are a family that revel in sharing our knowledge and experiences regarding foods and medicines from the natural world all around us.
Whether you live in the city or the country, there is a wealth of wild edible (and medicinal) plants at your disposal!
for a sustainable and ethical future.
Wild Food Adventures
Provides expertise in wild edible plants and foraging through workshops, expeditions, teaching events, presentations, outdoor guiding, and outfitting anywhere in North America.
- "Wildman" Steve Brill
THE PURPOSE of this hands-on program is to learn about the environment and get back in touch with nature. By studying foraging and nature, we enjoy our renewable resources and reaffirm our commitment to preserving and rebuilding our ecological riches.
The Forager Press
Our mission is to share knowledge, appreciation and respect for nature through our books and through our Web site. Our authorsand contributors will always have one thing in common, a passion for their vocation or hobby.
Food for Free; Edible wild plants
An exhaustive list of 'edible' wild plants is scarcely possible as there are so many which can be eaten - but are simply not worth eating, either because their texture is unpalatable or they are evil tasting (though that is a matter of opinion!), or have no significant taste or interesting texture.
http://www.abfg.org/ - Association run by Michael Jordon of 'Mushroom Magic' fame. Represents the majority of fungus recording groups throughout the British Isles .
http://www.alnwickgarden.com/news_events/view_event.asp?id=296 - With a day of nettle-related activities, The Garden will help celebrate The Alnwick Festival.
http://www.askmario.co.uk/ - Ask Mario for advice on where to eat out well.
http://www.britmycolsoc.org.uk/ - Learned Society with charity status, dealing with all things fungal.
http://www.bushcraftuk.com/ - Bushcraft is about being confident and comfortable in the natural environment.
http://www.countryliving.co.uk/ - UK Magazine for Country Lovers.
http://www.countrylovers.co.uk/wildfoodjj/index.htm - The Really Wild Food Guide or 350+ Ways to Wok the Wild
http://www.crannog.co.uk - Has a nettle festival in spring and ?Forest Faeries & Foraging? tour in autumn.
www.downsizer.net - Downsizer.net is a not-for-profit online community, a resource for people who want to live more sustainably.
http://www.edibleplants.com/wepnut_frames.htm - Wild Edible Plant Nutrition
http://www.fieldmycology.net/ - Includes the British Mycological Field Recording Database
http://www.forestry.gov.uk/ - The mission of the Forestry Commission is to protect and expand Britain 's forests and woodlands and increase their value to society and the environment.
http:// www.frugal.org.uk - Welcome to Frugal Living in the UK . Whether you want to reduce your debts, save for a holiday, stay at home with your children, live more simply or just beat the system a little and end up with more cash, we hope you find something here to help.
http://www.fungitobewith.org/ - The club is recognised as the longest standing London Fungus Group, affiliated with the British Mycological Club (BMS) and the Association of British Fungal Groups (ABFG).
http://www.fungus.org.uk/ - Information about fungi and details of UK fungus recording groups.
http://www.greenchoices.org/ - GreenChoices is about the choices we can make in our everyday lives to protect our environment, for the benefit of all.
http://groups.yahoo.com/group/wildforager2/ - Wild Forager began as an online discussion group April 8, 1999 . Now, we are a family that revel in sharing our knowledge and experiences regarding foods and medicines from the natural world all around us
http://www.herefordshire-fungi.org.uk/events.htm - Herefordshire Festival of Fungi
http://www.jekkasherbfarm.com/ - We are now proud to be recognised as the country?s number one authority on growing and using herbs, holding the largest collection of culinary and medicinal herbs anywhere in the UK .
http://www.kentishfare.co.uk/ - Welcome to the Garden of England , and our wonderful produce!
http://www.kent-life.co.uk/ - Kent Life Magazine provides unrivalled, full colour coverage of towns, villages, the county's history and heritage, property, antiques, fashion and much more.
http:// www.lowimpact.org - Low-Impact Living Initiative (LILI) is a non-profit organisation whose mission is to help people reduce their impact on the environment, improve their quality of life, gain new skills, live in a healthier and more satisfying way, have fun, and save money
http://www.made-in-kent.co.uk/ - This site is primarily about quality produce and those that produce it.
http://www.mycologue.co.uk/ - Welcome to Mycologue - the internet mushroom shop.
http://www.paulkingsnorth.net/ - Paul has written for or contributed to the Guardian, Independent, Daily Telegraph, Daily Express, Le Monde, New Statesman, Ecologist, New Internationalist, Big Issue, Adbusters, BBC Wildlife, Open Democracy, BBC Radio 4, BBC Radio 2, BBC4, ITV and Resonance FM.
http://www.pfaf.org/ - Plants For A Future is a resource centre for rare and unusual plants, particularly those which have edible, medicinal or other uses.
http://www.rbgkew.org.uk/scihort/mycolexp.html - Site maintained by Kew Gardens , describing the Mycological work carried out at Kew , the resident mycologists and info on how to deposit your fungus collections at Kew .
http://www.reallywildfestival.co.uk/ - The Really Wild Food and Countryside Festival is a Celebration of Food and Countryside Crafts originating from the Wild.
http:// www.rivercottage.net/ - Welcome to river cottage, a website about food, where it comes from, and why that matters.
http://www.self-reliance.net/wff.html - The School of Self-reliance operates from Los Angeles , in the L.A. County area of southern California . We research, test, teach / guide, and publish in all aspects of self-reliance. We also sell useful products .
http://www.selfsufficientish.com/ - The Urban guide to almost self-sufficiency.
http://www.slowfood.com/ - Slow Food is an international movement which came into being in Paris in 1989. It?s aim is to protect the pleasures of the table from the homogenisation of modern fast food and life.
http://www.transmanche.com/splash.html - The new website for Lime Transmanche - the original and first free food, drink and travel magazine for Kent , Sussex (and shortly to include Hampshire).
http://www.truffle-uk.co.uk/ - For trees that grow truffles.
http:// www.theforagerpress.com - Our mission is to share knowledge, appreciation and respect for nature through our books and through our Web site.
http://www.ucl.ac.uk/archaeology/research/profiles/smason/smethnob.htm - Ethnobotany of wild plant foods.
http://www.wildernessfoundation.org.uk/ - The Wilderness Foundation forms part of a global network. Our aim is to protect wilderness areas wherever they are.
http://www.wildernessgathering.co.uk/ - 1 st-3 rd September, The Wilderness Gathering has now become the annual festival of Bushcraft, survival and primitive skills.
http://www.wildernesstherapy.co.uk/ - Wilderness Therapy UK is a leading provider of wilderness and adventure therapy programmes and training in the United Kingdom .
http:// www.wildfoodadventures.com - Provides expertise in wild edible plants and foraging through workshops, expeditions, teaching events, presentations, outdoor guiding, and outfitting anywhere in North America .
http://www.wild-harvest.com/ - The Bounty most sought by Spring Foragers in North America .
http:// www.wildmanstevebrill.com - Learn about edible and medicinal wild plants and mushrooms, nature and ecology with New York 's Best-Known Naturalist.
WHO COMES ON MY COURSES? People often ask me this question. Well, if those people have a website or similar I will put a link to them below. The random nature of this appeals to me immensly.
Eos Chater: www.bondmusic.net
Jerry Chater: www.jerrychater.com
Nik Ammar: www.myspace.com/oivavoi
Christine Finn: http://traumwerk.stanford.edu:3455/ChristineFinn/56
Lucy Panesar - she's not been on my course, but she likes my seaweed, I like what she does, and I'm sure I must have picked some weed or other when she has been around! http://www.lucypanesar.com/
http://www.frogmorris.net/ - all respect and credit to the fabulous Angry Badger song. I wanted this to feature in Roadkill Chef - it didn't happen unfortunately, although Frog was up for it. Hmmm, come to think of it Frog wasn't on my course either The Angy Badger Lyrics: http://www.songsandpoems.frogmorris.net/SONGS/01%20Angry%20Badger.mp3
Neil Shilling: http:! //www.networkenglish.co.uk/ - not come on a course, but has partaken of a wild food dinner - also one of my poker and tennis partners
I LOVE YOU
?..or, to be more inclusive, human beings cannot live by bread alone. True? Maybe. Certainly we need to be more inclusive in terms not only of gender or, of course, varied diet, but also in regard to our other needs for self expression ? through music, poetry and art, as well as with respect to a whole plethora of other social, psychological and, no doubt, spiritual needs. However, the question that really interests me concerns wild food. Susan Campbell, in her paper, The Hunting and Gathering of Wild Foods: What?s the point? An Historical Survey - a paper delivered at Oxford and reprinted in Proceedings of the Oxford Symposium on Food and Cookery 2004: Wild Food, poses the dilemma quite succinctly when she states, ??.nor have I yet met anyone who could convince me that modern man could subsist on wild food alone, legally or illegally, the year round, in a northern climate.? The question and the challenge, then, stand: Can a person live by wild food alone? There is only one way to answer such a question and that is by actually attempting to do so. However, a further question presents itself: Why would anybody in his or her right mind wish to attempt such a thing?
Having utilised wild foods in my diet for a considerable number of years, I know that the sheer variety and range of what is generally available is quite astonishing. Such a vast myriad of both familiar and more exotic flavours, textures, and unique nutritional dietary contributors means that, given sufficient availability, it would surely be theoretically possible to live on wild food alone. Well?? that remains to be proved by the possible sweat and tears of actual practice. Nevertheless, addressing the question, ?why?? , is at one and the same time to address those less tangible needs which, at the outset, it was admitted that without which we could not live. This is because eating wild food is not just about nutritional sustenance; it?s a lifestyle choice. That choice is in part a personal and practical answer to various disagreements I have with the world, the way it is, or rather, the way it is as an outcome of our interaction with it; the way it is, the way we are, but don?t have to be ? culturally, socially, economically and, of course, environmentally??????.
I?ve been thinking for two weeks now about carrying out the practice: living from only wild food a whole month and have decided to begin on the 30th of June ? just a few days away now. I?m even going to subject myself to a battery of medical tests tomorrow morning. However, as the day itself approaches the likelihood of success seems to do the opposite, retreating instead into the far distance. In the first place, I am so ludicrously busy at the moment that I barely have time to think about cooking a meal, let alone producing one from wild food. In the second place, I thought that although it?s mainly leaves and seaweeds that are available now, this wouldn?t be a problem because, no doubt, I could always top up any nutritional deficit with a choice piece of roadkill; that was, until I had lunch with a friend ? the sparkling Aglaia, She claims to be able to sniff out meat eaters from across the room. Actually, her method is more visual. Apparently it?s the dull eyes - compared with the bright sparkling eyes of the vegetarian - that?s the tell tale give away sign. Is it the shadow of death that dulls the inner flame, a corrupting of the soul to its very core or merely the sluggish arterial flow of stupefying saturated fats that deadens the vital light? Who knows the answer to such an imponderable question? All I do know is that after a few months of poor health ? I fell in the woods carrying birch sap and really put my back out, what could be better than to start sparkling again? So, meat of any sort is completely off the menu ? for now.
Of course, referring back to the quote from Susan Campbell, there is no doubt I can, as she says, ?subsist?. Yet subsistence carries the implications of just getting by, of the bare necessities, of surviving, being alive, but alive only to a paltry kind of mere existence. Perhaps for a month such an existence ? given no other commitments, could prove to be a liberating and nature-engaged escape from the day-to-day grind of work related toil. However, for me those commitments do exist (they?re not all toil fortunately). No, I want to live fully, to be nothing less than a whole man, to transcend the everyday, to feel the struggle of the impossible and know that it can be surpassed. A month of wild food will be hard. I will learn that I?m sure. However, to really rise to the challenge I must embrace the whole year and its generous seasons. Only then will I know if it is possible to live by wild food alone.
The coming month will be a preliminary study for a wild food year ? beginning later this year. I will be writing a daily blog about how things are going over the coming month. If you are interested please return to this page which I will be updating every day.
Now, time to go for an invigorating walk in the glorious lightening, thunder and rain??..