I forage for a living. Collect. Glean. Hunt. Rather than growing, I look out into the world to see what nature has to offer. Instead of deciding what a plot of land will provide, I let the plants decide. Choosing where and when they flower. Wild mushrooms, acorns, blackberries, seaweed. All these and more are my stock and trade, the stuff of my life. The changing seasons, from spring, with its abundance of greens, to summer, with seaweeds and Seabeans, to fall, with acorns and huckleberries, and finally winter, with the rains come an endless abundance of wild mushrooms. Chanterelle, matsutake, hedgehog, wild radish, black oak, Salicornia pacifica, mychorizzal, minus tides . Foraging has changed the way I look at the world. Let me explain. A year ago I started a business/community, forageSF. I started it with the idea to bring wild local edibles to an urban population. Creating fulfilling jobs for my neighbors, while exposing a whole new populace to the amazing wealth of wild foods growing just outside their doors. Foraging changes the way you see the world. With a little knowledge, a non-descript blanket of green is transformed. It bursts forth, and becomes miners lettuce, chickweed, and wild radish flowers, all delicious salad additions. From the trail-side "toadstools" burst chanterelles, matsutake, and morel mushrooms, some of the most sought after foods on the planet. The winter rains cease to be a thing to lament, but instead something to yearn for,with dreams of your secret mushroom spots in full bloom.
Food has become very important lately. From Slow Food to Weston Price, people are beginning to view food as more than simple sustenance. People call it a movement. The food movement. A movement based around consumption . Not consumption in the sense that we've come to know the word, as the end result of our collective inhalation of the worlds resources. This is a consumption based on a keen awareness of what we’re eating, where it comes from, what it means, how it connects us to the past, and how it nourishes us both physically and culturally. The life of the pig from birth to death is something that we have come to care about. Wild boar is sought after, because we feel that animal had a full and healthy life. This is revolutionary. We've spent the last 50 years giving little thought to what went into our bodies. Ignoring thousands of years of accumulated human knowledge, we chose microwaves, frozen dinners, and twinkies. Freeze dried, pre-packed “nutrition”, has replaced common sense. Our ancestors didn’t need to read a nutrition label to know something was good for them. That knowledge was passed down through millennia of trial and error. Generations of humans who had eaten and thrived off foods that nourish. The culture of our species is tied to its food, and for too long we have ignored that culture in favor of convenience. In one generation we have forgotten the lessons of hundreds of past generations. Those who hunted, fished, canned, grew, foraged, and thrived. Foraging is not a new phenomenon. It is the oldest example of food. When we forage, we connect ourselves with a lineage that dates back to our first ancestors, and a cultural tradition that is in serious danger of being forgotten.