A guide to for­ag­ing

The Simple Things - - LIVING -

There are a few sim­ple but vi­tal guide­lines for for­ag­ing safely and sus­tain­ably. In essence, take only what you need, waste noth­ing, and help to pro­mote the preser­va­tion and growth of more wild spa­ces for fu­ture for­agers.

The num­ber one rule is never to consume a plant with­out dou­ble check­ing its iden­ti­fi­ca­tion. Do not try to force fit an iden­ti­fi­ca­tion, no mat­ter how much you may want a plant to be the one you’re look­ing for. Al­ways use a good na­tive plant guide­book and check a plant’s ID, fea­ture by fea­ture, from leaf shape to bud, bloom and so on.

Some peo­ple may be al­ler­gic

to cer­tain herbs, so be aware and care­fully taste-test a lit­tle of each new plant 48 hours be­fore tuck­ing in. Get to know your lo­cal flora. Go on guided plant walks with a lo­cal nat­u­ral­ist, for­ager or herbal­ist who can show you the edi­ble and poi­sonous plants in real life, so you get a good feel for them and know what to avoid. There are many poi­sonous plants in the wild that are eas­ily avoided once you know them. Look for lo­cal herbal­ists or per­ma­cul­ture groups for walks, or check out the Field Stud­ies Coun­cil (FSC) and the Botan­i­cal So­ci­ety of Bri­tain and Ire­land (BSBI), which of­ten run cour­ses.

Get per­mis­sion be­fore

har­vest­ing. In many pub­lic open spa­ces in the UK, en­dan­gered flora is pro­tected and for­ag­ing is pro­hib­ited for very good con­ser­va­tion rea­sons. But gen­er­ally you don’t need per­mis­sion to pick the fruits, flow­ers and fo­liage of most wild plants for your own

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