A taste for weeds

The Tribune (NZ) - - FRONT PAGE - SHARON STEVENS

Go­ing down the gar­den to eat worms? Ooey. So, how about ‘go­ing down the gar­den to eat weeds’?

This week­end lo­cal peo­ple have a unique op­por­tu­nity to do just that while learn­ing from Tau­ranga-based ‘‘weed woman’’ Ju­lia Sich.

Ju­lia is pas­sion­ate about the nu­tri­tional ben­e­fits of eat­ing leafy green plants — in­clud­ing those fre­quently classed as com­mon gar­den weeds.

Dan­de­lions, net­tles, chick­weed, and cleavers are just the be­gin­ning. On a daily ba­sis, Ju­lia for­ages for weeds and com­bines them with other greens and fruit or nuts to make green smooth­ies, weed pestos, and other tasty con­coc­tions. She now trav­els across the North Is­land shar­ing recipes, knowl­edge, and en­thu­si­asm.

This week­end’s Ash­hurst-based events are some­thing of a home­com­ing for Ju­lia, who was raised in Manawatu. Her most re­cent Manawatu work­shop was held last year to a sold-out crowd.

Par­tic­i­pants who braved flood­ing rains to par­tic­i­pate in the work­shop’s weed-for­ag­ing walk, were so en­thu­si­as­tic about what they learned that sev­eral asked the So­ci­ety for the Re­silience and En­gage­ment of the Com­mu­nity of Ash­hurst and Po­hang­ina (RE­CAP) to bring Ju­lia back at a price level that would be ac­ces­si­ble to more peo­ple.

RE­CAP is of­fer­ing three events.

A free (gold coin koha) lec­ture and so­cial will be held Fri­day, April 29, from 7pm at the Ash­hurst Vil­lage Val­ley Cen­tre, 21 Guild­ford St. This bring-a-neigh­bour event is open to all, with no reg­is­tra­tion re­quired.

Two in­for­mal work­shops will be held on Satur­day April 30, and Sun­day May 1, from 10am to 1pm for those wish­ing to learn more about plant iden­ti­fi­ca­tion, nu­tri­tion, and recipes.

The fee, thanks to Lot­ter­ies Com­mu­nity Grants, is $10. Reg­is­tra­tion is es­sen­tial, with the May 1 work­shop – a re­sponse to the first work­shop – all but sell­ing out far in ad­vance.

For more in­for­ma­tion and reg­is­tra­tion, see http://re­cap.org.nz.

PHOTO SUP­PLIED

For­ag­ing for ed­i­ble weeds – a group en­gaged in a walk and work­shop on weed iden­ti­fi­ca­tion led by Tau­ranga’s ‘weed woman’, Ju­lia Sich.

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