As we see awareness about eating organic and local fresh ingredients is on the rise, foraging for wild food has also grown in popularity over recent years, becoming a popular activity for some and a complete change of lifestyle for others. Foraging deals with the searching, identifying, and collecting food from the wild, including herbs, plants, fruit, nuts, or even mushrooms. It’s all about learning more about our environment. Many of us may have fond memories of picking berries with our families as an example of the foraging some of us have enjoyed at some point in our lives. Apples, sloes, and elderflowers have traditionally been picked in the wild to make some delicious and nutritious preserves at home. Fortunately, many landscapes are blessed with a vast range of edible plants, mushrooms, and fruit, not only in the forests but also in our close surroundings. Many different types of trees line up the streets, dropping plenty of nuts, and bushes full of berries. On top of that, having the right kind of knowledge can help you to find choice edibles like certain wild mushrooms. Foraging originated back to the start of the human race, where hunter-gatherers sustained their tribes by hunting animals and gathering plants from their immediate environments until humans invented farming and agriculture as a more predictable source of food. Foraging has played an essential role during difficult times driven by poverty and hunger. Every household used to fortify their supply with food and medicinal plants gathered from the wild until times changed, and we started relying more on markets to get our groceries.
While gathering food is still a part of everyday life in many rural areas around the world, the knowledge of wild plants has been widely forgotten. Nowadays, many urban dwellers have become disconnected from the food they eat and are dependent on pre-packaged food sold in stores. Wild food affords a healthy option to supplement our diet, yet there are many other reasons why people are returning to it. Nonetheless, there seems to be a common goal of awareness regarding where the food we eat comes from. With controversies on the rise in the food industry and raising awareness for the environment among other reasons, led to many of us think differently about sourcing our food, making us more connected to nature. While the meaning of foraging no longer applies exclusively to the countryside but also includes parks, verges, and roadsides within large cities. Also, wildlife tourism has attracted many more to forage as a recreational pursuit, where we have the opportunity to take a break from our busy lives and discover unusual new ingredients with incredible flavors to enhance our meals. Eventually, for some of us, foraging can be incorporated into a healthy lifestyle that empowers ourselves, to understand how nature works: foraging changes ultimately the way you see the world and your surroundings.