Foraging 101

Foraging is resurfacing as people wake up to the state of our food systems and seek to take their power back as the world continues to shift. Foraging involves an element of survivalist curiosity, a dash of information, teaspoon of adventure, and a hearty handful of perseverance.

Written by

Bronwyn Laurence

Published on

November 8, 2021

Foraging is resurfacing as people wake up to the state of our food systems and seek to take their power back as the world continues to shift. Foraging involves an element of survivalist curiosity, a dash of information, teaspoon of adventure, and a hearty handful of perseverance. The faint of heart and those people that would rather eat a pill than real food should be uninvited immediately.

Knowledge of what you are looking for and how to find it is also of course essential and cannot be understated — I mean, we’ve all seen “Into the Wild.” No one wants to eat the wrong mushroom, get lost off-trail or do the unthinkably embarrassing and invite your crush to go searching for asparagus in the Fall. It is truly a recipe that is bound to satisfy, so long as you know what you are doing.

Now what if you’ve done your research, corralled a friend, and are hopping in the car ready to rock and roll when that friend suddenly chimes in: “Wait a minute… this is cool and all but how is Taking from Mother Earth still OK? Isn’t that the issue that we’re trying to combat by foraging anyways? How can our actions today make us better than Monsanto? How can we do this right, and give back?”

Woof. Good on ya, friend. Thanks for asking those hard-hitting questions that need to be heard. And I’ll give you the answer in one word: Intention.

The intention of your actions and following through to make sure that intention is never sacrificed makes all the difference. If you go into the day intending to respect Mother Nature, understanding that you are at the whim of her, not above her, and that she is doing you a favor by growing this beautiful bounty then chances are you will act appropriately.

However, if you are a type-A person surrounded by frustratingly type-B adventurers that keep telling you to just “feel into it” then this is for you. Below I’ve created a succinct list for you to keep hidden in your back pocket for times just like this. You’re welcome.

@wildfed on Instagram


Now this list is based on principles of respect, with the intention of caring for the Earth instead of taking advantage. It will allow the ecosystem to continue to thrive while still providing for you and your cute Instagram story that is surely to come.

*Let it be known that these guidelines are based on Indigenous practices that have been around for Centuries and I am only here to disseminate and empower*

1. Never go for the first one you see
What if that was the only one? Seeing a second of whatever you’re foraging for ensures that the plant is reproducing and you aren’t decimating it’s future.

2. Ask before picking
A traditional Native American practice is to look at the plant, maybe holding it in your hand, staying present, and asking for permission to pick it. Do this every time you go to remove a plant from its source of life. If you ever get an inkling that the answer is No, let it be. This not only slows you down to feel respect for the plant with each pluck but gives the plant the power back, even if just for a moment. It honors its death if the answer is Yes and honors its growth if the answer is No.

@sarahssoaps on Instagram

3. Take no more than 49%
Again, respect. By taking less than half always it makes sure the population has enough resources to continue to grow and also is an overt demonstration of thanking the earth for what it provides and showing you are not more important than a plant or an ecosystem.

4. Watch your step
Just because whatever is surrounding the patch of chanterelles doesn’t look edible doesn’t mean it is worthless. Nothing exists in nature without serving a purpose. Make sure to not only keep the mushroom population alive through the advice above but also protecting it’s surrounding flora — chances are it is essential to those flourishing mushrooms.

5. SMILE.
How cool is it that the earth you walk on also has the capacity to produce life in such variety that we get the pleasure of eating salads, tasting maple syrup, enjoying salmon and getting blackberry sticky fingers? Life sure is good. All forms of life, all around us, that is.

@cara_the_lagotto on Instagram

Got any burning questions this didn’t answer? Want to add to the list and share things that have worked for you? Hoping to find a foraging buddy? We would love to hear it all! Comment below, and bring us with you on your next food-inspired adventure. Because the more you know, the more you grow 🌱

Bronwyn xx

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