(Allium Tricoccum; Ramps or Wild Leeks)
Foraging, picking, wildcrafting, gathering, collecting, harvesting- whatever you decide to call it, for as long as humans have been around, we’ve done it!
Gathering herbs, and wild foraging for food is deep within our DNA. Historically there was no concept of sustainability or modesty when collecting food because farming wasn’t established yet, and it was all that was available. There was always a plentiful bounty of plants, bushes and trees & primitive humans also contained a certain instinct about how much to collect- generally enough for there own family or enough to save through different seasons (and speaking of seasons, they also ate with the seasonal cycle using what was available to them at the time- but thats a WHOLE different blog post 🙂 )
After farming and agriculture was introduced, the supply and demand began to rise. It was exciting & practical to be able to farm vegetables, grain & animals to provide for a small village. But still, these early communities practiced sustainable yield, seed saving and seasonal harvest.
(Cypripedium acaule; Wild Michigan Orchid, Pink Lady’s Slipper or Moccasin Flower)
Fast forward to today where farming is in such high demand we’ve used genetic modifications, synthetic fertilizers, antibiotics and unethical animal practices. The hunters became greedy with trophy antlers and the gatherers pick every last berry off of each bush. Just as we have seen animal extinction, we’ve seen plant species start becoming “at-risk” because of herb farming & collecting for fad diets & remedies as well as the wild food movement in high-end restaurants creating demand for unique foraged food.
We need to remember that we HAVE & NEED a close relationship to our plants. They surround us, they provide oxygen + food, they create stability in our soil and provide protection and medicine. Because of this relationship, it is our responsibility to speak up for them, protect them and advocate and practice sustainable wildcrafting and conservation- especially for our precious native species. So don’t pick all the berries, or flowers, don’t dig all the roots or ramps and leave and collect seeds for years to come. Most importantly educate yourself on good harvesting practices, native species and at- risk plants.
For more information visit : unitedplantsavers.org + sustainableharvest.org