The desire to learn about an age-old art that was once a necessity for the survival of the first human hunter gatherers and for many of our own parents, grandparents and great grandparents during war, is in itself valuable. Learning about our own flora and fauna, what can be safely and sustainably eaten and how such foods can be incorporated into a more natural and healthy diet allows for e reconnection with the species that grow around us, from our own backyards to city parks, woodlands, rocky coasts and even mountain tops. Indeed, this is what many nomadic tribes still do across the world to this day, but in our modern busy lives much has been forgotten for the sake of speed and convenience.
Learning to forage for sustainable ingredients is a real joy, and even if you are familiar with blackberries, nettles and rosehips, there are an abundance of other species out there, which often come as a surprise. They are the plants so often busily weeded out or sprayed without the realisation that they can be a valuable and tasty food source. Think dandelions, docks, ground elder and hairy bittercress. Or invasive species such as Japanese Knotweed, Himalayan Balsam, and Chilean Rhubarb.
Importantly it is learning about what we can eat safely, where and how to collect wild species sustainably, correct identification – especially where species may be confused with a deadly lookalike – and knowing the law.