Common Sense Code: Foraging Ethics

Common Sense Code: Foraging Ethics

Foraging ethics, wild crafting with a conscience

I must not tally with this blog, as the mildness, so far of this winter has been felt and stirred the energy forces of many plants, into early activity. It is a bitter sweet time; I find constant joy, in observing the natural rhythms of life, and renewing acquaintance with the hosts of beings, that pop back, with ancient but ever renewing performances every season, upon this earthly stage.

Foraging ethics

February and the bicycle is loaded with abundance.

But my gut has long been telling me, all is not well, the Scientist, Mathematician, Meteorologist, have taken the measurements, crunched the facts, and confirmed that the planet is under the weather (pun intended), good readers, I will cut what could be a long essay short, we have to be the solution.

Back to subject, a walk through the seasons among the plants has been promised, so let’s prepare, for what to me, and I am sure to you also, will be magical, revealing, enchanting, luminous and fill the heart and appetite with wonderment.

Life is a conundrum, a dance, we must learn to negotiate with skill, the same applies to foraging, the Yellow Stainer (Agaricus  Xanthodermus) fungi, may tempt with its copy cat looks, but make you ill, growing in the same patch as horse and field mushrooms, that are edible, the Deadly Nightshade (Atropa belladonna) will grow amongst the edible, Good King Henry or Orache (Atriplex Prostrate), so carelessly grasping a hand full, will come at a price.

Foraging ethics - A wild relationship

Edible and poisonous intermingled

I am a dilettante, one who dabbles in an art or field of knowledge, I have a great love of subject, but I am not an expert, therefore I highly recommend a good quality field guide, as an essential component for learning to identify the edible plant species, leaf shape, stem shape, texture, scent, locations, cross referencing will all form part of becoming a confident forager.

The dangers can easily be learned, it is just that we have lost touch with our natural abilities, that we once use to acquire in childhood, we now fear the natural world that sustains us, and strangely cling to systems that are currently more familiar, but destroying, our health and that of the planet.

I once, was astonished that a grandmother wrote to the local paper, complaining of seaweed on the beach and how disgusting it was for her grandchildren to have to play amongst it. Washed in with stormy seas, it goes back out with the next tides, but our tourist beaches are raked clean of nature, the seagulls, forced to forage dustbins and ambush people eating ice creams or take a-ways in the street, because we deem their natural forage/food/habitats offensive, while blind to the  damage of the debris we humans discard from our own living habits.

Foraging ethics - A wild relationship

Beach clean at Scabbacombe

With dirty in mind, common sense will dictate that polluted areas for foraging, are to be avoided.  Heavy traffic, paths ways that are sprayed with herbicides, dog walking areas, sites of contamination, this includes the countryside, sterile boring mono culture fields will shout, herbicide use, loud and clear, water ways and courses and sea quality also something to become a tuned too, and familiar with.

People often question the ethical side of foraging, should we not be leaving the wild to the wild life? My answer is that we are animals, and the wild is in our DNA. Also we should query where most  bought, food come from, does fish not come from the sea, has not meat been grazed on the land, do potatoes and peas not emerge from the soil, have they been artificially fertilised, were they sprayed with pesticides, wrapped in plastic, flown, transported, refrigerated, in short everything comes, from the Earth at a cost.

Doing the least damage, is something that we can all journey towards, and become confident in, such as should we pick the berries in an improvised area of biodiversity, the answer is no, leave alone. But on the whole it is far more ethical making, say a salad from so called weeds, than buying a packet in a supermarket, once we are fully aware of the true footprint of said salad leaves, and what we will be discovering is abundance, not scarcity, nature is not mean.

Foraging ethics - A wild relationship

So often, bio diversity poor

So, there we have the brief health and safety message dealt with, I look forward to coming back and sharing with you, the new years, wild bounty, along ,with plenty of green, miscellaneous chit chat, simply tales from the hedgerows, and money saving, healthy, tasty wild food finds.

Green first aid.

All photographs will be mine, unless otherwise stated, and my shared  information with you, will include the photographic source of said plants, all tried and tested on my good self, and willing friends (no complaints thus far). Go gently, if all is well then proceed, taking into account the qualities of what you are consuming, for example the ginkgo biloba nuts, below, fine and nutritious, but no more than 10 a day due to Ginkgotoxin, that interferes with pyridoxine (vitamin B-6) metabolism inside the human body.The key is learning the knowledge, then it will become easy, second nature, back soon, with the January pickings.

ginkgo biloba nuts

Please check out my other offerings on A Wild Relationship

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For more hints and tips, come and like my page on Facebook A Wild Relationship ~ Paula. I would love you to share your discoveries with me.

All content provided in this blog is for informational purposes only. I make no representations as to the accuracy or completeness of any information on this site, or found by following any link on this site. Independent and expert advice should be sourced by anyone wanting to proceed with foraging. Consuming wild plants is done so at your own risk, I take no responsibility. I am the legal copyright holder of all written and photographic material under the category ‘A Wild Relationship’ and the contents and photographs cannot be used to reprint or publish without my written consent.


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