Bethany, age 14
When I say wild foods I basically mean plants that are edible. Most people would consider these plants weeds. You can find wild foods in fields, woods, gardens, pots, and any space where a weed can grow.
Why do I do wild foods? Well, there are lots of reasons. The top three are probably health, exercise, and independence. The grocery stores are selling fruits and vegetables, but they are usually shipped from far away, genetically modified, and sprayed with bug poison. All of these things are not good for our bodies! But with wild foods, we know where our food is coming from, we know that they are fresh, we know that they are not genetically modified, and, if we are careful of where we harvest, we know that they are not sprayed with harmful things.
Another reason I enjoy wild foods is the exercise. Exercise is important and when you are digging up all different kinds of roots, you are definitely getting some good exercise! The last main reason is independence. Wild foods are even more sustainable than gardening. So, if there was to be some kind of disaster, I know that my family would not starve.
There are two basic ways you can harvest these plants. You can go out on a big hike, not knowing what you are going to harvest, and take extra supplies along (backpack, knife, scissors, etc.), or you can go to a place where you know that you can find a certain weed in your back yard to throw into your salad. Both are important and fun.
I love to touch things, taste things, and smell things. This is a perfect hobby for me because I can touch the fluffy milkweed seeds, I can taste the fragrant peppermint leaves, and smell the sweet milkweed blossoms. Before I became interested in this I would always be touching things in my house, and my Dad would say “Bethany! Would you just STOP touching things!” But now I can use this desire in a healthy way.
The last reason I love it is that I just love being outside. I love the sunshine and fresh air. It is a great way to get my energy out. Wild foods are important to me and I hope that I have shared why. And I also hope that other people will be inspired to pursue wild foods.
Caleb, age 12
When I forage, I learn many things about plants. I learn what’s edible and not, how and when to harvest it, and what parts to eat and not eat. I enjoy foraging with people because I get to be outside with friends and family. I get exercise from walking and digging and I love to learn about all the amazing things that God has given to us.
When I go foraging with my friends or family, we have funny and fun memories. One time my brother and me were having a contest to see who could dig up the biggest burdock root. My brother was winning and we were on our way back to the car when I saw A HUGE plant. I got a shovel and started digging. It took a long time and when I got it up I knew that I had won the competition!
The best part about foraging is that afterwards I usually get to eat what I found and taste new and yummy flavors. I think it is easier to learn when I am having fun outside in God’s creation.
Josiah, age 11
I have really enjoyed helping Mrs. Drake forage for wild foods and I have learned a lot. I have learned what the names of different plants are and what is edible or not. Burdock roots, violets, dandelions, chickweed, yellow dock, and plantain are all edible plants. Plantain is also good for cuts and stings. Burdock leaves are also edible, but taste nasty! All kinds of plants can be used for different things. Edible plants can be used for food, sicknesses, scrapes, and more. For example, pine needles are edible and you can make tea out of it. The non-edible plants are also very useful.
I know more than what I have said and am thankful that I do. Just in case I am ever stranded on an island, surrounded by sea and can’t get off, I will still have food. I enjoy foraging and looking for plants because I am out in God’s creation, seeing all that he has given us, and breathing the fresh air. It is also good exercise and, if you are doing it with friends and family, it is good fellowship. Thank you, Mrs. Drake, for teaching me.
Heidi, age 12
Once when I was playing with my 3 year old brother John I started eating some chickweed that I found. He said he was hungry and wanted some so I let him eat some and showed him what is was. Later when John went on a walk through our woods with Mama he would stop and say “Mama wait for me while I get chickweed!” John knows just what chickweed is now and he really likes to eat it. I am so glad God made chickweed, it is also one of my favorite wild foods.
I also have made a lot of wild salads with chickweed almost always as the main part of the salad.