I am about to start a monthly blog post about foraging, with a what to look for and where and a tried and tested recipe that we love here! So I thought I would kick off with a post about the foraging rules! These appear to be the same in most places, books or on the internet… but here are the ones from British Local Food
- Never consume wild food unless you are 100% sure of its identification. There are plants and fungi out there that can kill you. When in doubt, leave it out!
- Do not take more than you need. Only pick from abundant populations and leave plenty behind for wildlife and others to enjoy. Over-picking is not sustainable and will impact next year’s crop.
- Do not pick endangered species. It’s not only illegal to pick but unethical. Gather only those that you know grow in abundance and familiarise yourself with endangered species.
- Do not trespass to forage for wild food. You should only forage on property that you have gained landowner’s permission to enter. Always leave it as you found it in the first place.
- Leave no trace behind and respect nature. Minimise damage to the habitat and species. Do not disturb wildlife and avoid unnecessary trampling.
- Do not pick the roots. The plant will not have the chance to reproduce and you will not be able to pick leaves and flowers in the future. Always ask for the landowner’s permission if the plant in question is fairly abundant.
- Never pick in places subjected to pollution. Avoid roadsides, industrial estates, dog walking areas and agricultural land that may be sprayed with herbicides, pesticides or fertilizers. Do not pick plants growing near polluted water sources.
- Use a knife / pair of scissors. Using adequate tools avoid excess damage to plants and inadvertent uprooting, increasing the chance of the plant to continue growing healthy.
- Be cautious when trying new wild foods. Sometimes your body will have intolerances. Learn about possible reactions and allergies. Avoid consuming wild food if you have medical conditions, are pregnant or breastfeeding.
- Share your knowledge. Teach others to respect nature and learn about the environment.
Do you currently forage?
Do you have any other rules you follow?
Do you have any favourite plants, fruits or recipes to share?