We, the human race, have lost track of our wild ancient roots of a time long ago when we were hunters and gatherers. In fact, the more industrial we have become, the more our minds have shifted away from finding, and even growing our own food. We have forgotten about all of the edible resources that grow around us everywhere in compliance with the modern food processing industry.
There are so many benefits of simply collecting the knowledge of Wild Edible Plants that the list could go on and on. This list explains the first 10 of many more benefits of knowing your Wild Edible Plants.
I Recommend Peterson Field Guide, Edible Wild Plants.
More than 370 edible wild plants, plus 37 poisonous look-alikes, are described here, with 400 drawings and 78 color photographs showing precisely how to recognize each species. Also included are habitat descriptions, lists of plants by season, and preparation instructions for 22 different food uses.
First of all, let’s delve into the issue of survival. What if you were stuck in the wilderness, with nothing? What if catastrophe struck and there was no food producers or grocery stores left?
We have all heard of the dooms dayers, and whether or not you believe as they do, there’s always a chance at some point that we could all get stuck in a survival situation. A thorough knowledge of the plants and animals in your region would be like gold to you. Knowing how to distinguish edible plants from poisonous imposters will definitely save lives. If you think about our ancient history, the old botanists were highly regarded as healers and they had the respect of all. They were as important to their clans much like doctors are to us today.
2. Natural Remedies and Medicinal Plants
Just as in survival, being aware of the various properties of wild plants that are edible will feed you during hard times, and be a source of natural wellness when you are aware of the medicinal properties of wild plants. Even homesteaders today are going back to the natural basics for alternative medicine. With the costs and risks associated with pharmaceuticals and synthetic health products, knowing your wild edible plants medicinal properties would save you money as well as the risks we subject ourselves to in this industrial world we live in.
Much like children should learn to garden, they should also be knowledgeable about their surroundings and the natural environment around them. Education towards nature and natures gifts are in my opinion, necessary for any human being. I could see myself leaning toward growing enough knowledge to offer an educational workshop geared toward edible wild plants of Eastern/Central North America. (Now that’s got my wheels turning with passion!)
Cultural foods are highly regarded in our society. We love different. Unfortunately, people tend to predominately focus on the cultural food varieties they see in the grocery stores, or what’s commonly accepted. Imagine if all of the old ideas came back, and you eventually began to see edible wild weeds in the grocery stores and farm markets. Would this idea be acceptable then? I know that for me, collard greens and spinach get boring; Dandelion greens are wonderful greens to subtitute. Dare to be different and show your diversity in your recipes. Here, I can see myself creating cookbooks for local wild edible plants.
5. Save Money on Groceries
So the United States makes enough food to feed the world. Processed foods are cheap. Unfortunately, healthy foods are not cheap by any means. You can get a bag of chips or a box of donuts cheaper than you can get fresh and healthy fruits and veggies. I know that my food bill consists of more vegetables than junk foods, and if I were to completely replace all or even most of those store bought produce with wild edible plants, I would save hundreds of dollars every month foraging my own. Remember, we as people love diversity. Anybody can learn the ropes on how to cook with any food and make it delicious.
Is there any hobby better than the great outdoors? Not in my opinion. Wild edibles can be a hobby from survival to recipes, to camping, and medicines. Nature has so much to offer us that there are unlimited categories and ideas that are hobby based for wild edibles. I camp and hike. It’s rather fun to incorporate foraging into these activities. Especially when there are curious kids around that take in knowledge like a sponge. Recipe developing and cooking is also a hobby of mine which benefits from wild edible plants.
Organic foods are not the norm anymore. Naturalists pay big for natural untainted foods because organic growers are on the side of the food industry that requires costly inspections for costly certifications. If you ask me, this idea in the USA is very backwards. Those who pour chemicals on us like its not harmful to us or our environments should pay the extra costs, not the real natural food producers and organic farmers. At least if you forage your own veggies, you know where they came from, and can be pretty safe in knowing you are doing your part to stay healthy and chemical free.
Everyone knows that just being outdoors is therapeutic. When we actually connect with the great outdoors, there is a special value to it. It’s like meditation. Do you know there are hundreds of wild plants you can use for teas and elixirs? No doubt, many of them focus on relaxing us. The value of personal therapy to keep our minds at ease in this fast society is truly one of the top most naturally effective means to wellness.