Five tips to wild foraging as a wellbeing practice
The other day we went on a micro-adventure to the coasts of Kent (Isle of Shippley to be precise) to forage some of our summer staple wild greens: wild marsh samphire, sea purslane, sea beets, sea lettuce, nettles and more.
We came back from our mini adventure with a bagful of wild greens and a few insights to ensure that your foraging practices are mindful and respectful, were you to decide to go foraging.
- Familiarise yourself with one or two plants or herbs in your local natural environment, seek them out in nature, taste them, research their properties make a connection – even if it is just one leaf of a simple dandelion, nettle, mint or lavender. A symbolic establishment with a wild plant is in itself a journey reconnecting us to ourselves and nature. It takes time to have effect, it is subtle but continuous. You will be surprised how many accessible and common plants with medicinal properties there are around us!
- Always ask for permission of nature before foraging, and give thanks when you finish. This way a small act of taking becomes integrated into a vaster web of life. It is a good practice to treat your environment as a living organism, no matter what you do in it. Remembering the living essence of nature around us. This awareness automatically puts us in a mindful and respectful relationship with everything around us.
- Don’t take more than you require. It is something that the whole Western culture, with its accumulative tendencies, needs a constant reminder of. There is enough for everyone, if we remember to take only what we require – five leaves, a small handful – and remind ourselves of the rest of the complex ecosystem that is thriving in the patch of wilderness in which we decided to forage.
- Leave no footprint. Collect all the human traces with you and leave the place as you found it.
- Create a regular practice – reconnecting with nature in a cyclical seasonal manner and connecting to wild plants at least two or four times a year helps us reconnect to the passing of the seasons and the natural rhythms of life. Apply the mindful principles of foraging and connecting to nature’s cycles in the city: whenever you go grocery shopping or preparing your food apply the tips above. Even if your food is cultivated, it still comes from the natural resources of the Earth. This way we make a daily effort to reconnect harmoniously to the plant and animal world that provides so much to all of us every day.
Humanity has become intrinsically urbanised and most of us have lost our connection to nature resulting in practices of mass-produced food and lifestyle that have a huge imprint on our local and global environment; our mental, physical emotional wellbeing. We see wilderness practices such as of foraging as a way to reach out towards our innate connection to nature. The results are more connection to ourselves, the seasons and the cyclical rhythms of nature. This, in turn, brings a natural sense of happiness, wellbeing and vitality.
Happy foraging, may your wild connections be fruitful
With Celebration & Appreciation,
Joel & Aiste