by Eurgain Phylip
Foraging for food is another way that you can save money, get outside and enjoy nature. Humans have been using the skill of foraging for centuries, but in the modern world of convenience we have detached ourselves from this skill. In recent years foraging has seen a resurgence and this past time is currently on an upward trend [1,2].
Countries leading the way
In the Czech Republic there is a tradition of foraging as a nation, especially mushrooms . There are even specific websites for foraging such as Na Ovoce where you can find locations and information on the best places to find fruit and nuts to forage (along with other EU countries). Fruit and nut trees are abundant in the Czech Republic even more so in the city of Prague. Nearly every tree that you will see in the city is one where you can pick these tasty morsels to your heart’s desire.
There are a number of countries that have a long tradition of foraging that is often protected by law like Scotland and Estonia [4,5]. In Sweden there is a law called Allemansrätt the Right to Public Access / Freedom to Roam, where a person can roam freely in the countryside and collect flowers, mushrooms and berries as long as they have respect for nature and the animals living there.
Three rules for a forager:
- If you don’t know what it is then don’t eat it! This is for your own safety, if you’re unsure of what you’ve picked then don’t risk it.
- Live in an urban area? You can still forage! Get out there and explore the nature around you. Take your phone and use some of these apps to help you.
- Always research local laws about foraging before venturing out and respect the nature around you, pick only as much as you need.
Where to forage and what to do with your foraged food
Resources that you can use to forage in your locality are websites such as: Falling Fruit. They have a world map full of pinned places, marking foraging locations for all kinds of food. Plants for a Future is also a great database which currently consists of information about approximately 7000 species of plants. They research and provide information on edible and otherwise useful plants. This is a great resource if you want to learn more about a certain edible plant.
Not sure what to do with your foraged goods? There are a number of online recipes that you can follow to create delicious meals from what you have picked. Honest Food and Edible Wild Food are two sites out of many that you can use.
Interested in reading more about foraging plants, tools and ideas for youth workers? Read our “Edible Plants – Tools for Youth Workers” publication, created by Coline Malot, YEE’s 2017-2018 EVS Volunteer.
Let us know how foraging goes for you, tell us what kind of food you forage in your country.