Why Be Normal?
What I’m about to tell you of my upcoming weekend plans will qualify me as a prepper nerd; I know that. But at this point I’m well beyond what is considered “normal” in society. In fact, I really don’t want to conform to America’s current sense of normal.
“Why?”, you ask. Let’s consider what normal is these days. According to Food Nation by Eric Schlosser,
“In 1970, Americans spent about $6 billion on fast food; in 2000, they spent more than $110 billion. Americans now spend more money on fast food than on higher education, personal computers, computer software, or new cars. They spend more on fast food than on movies, books, magazines, newspapers, videos, and recorded music – combined.”
That’s certainly not me. And I have no desire to eat more McDonald’s or Subway. I’d much prefer Laura’s homemade bread and fresh greens from our garden. Oh, we still eat out and we still purchase quite a bit of food from the stores. But our goal is to continually reduce that as much as possible by planting a garden, growing fruit trees, and raising our own meat.
Identifying Wild Edibles
There’s another way we’re learning eat better while simultaneously preparing for TEOTWAWKI. We’re learning to harvest from what God has provided through nature. That’s what’s gotten me excited about this weekend.
I’ve registered my oldest two kids and me for a Wild Edibles course that is being conducted by our local Parks and Recreation Department. It’s a short two-hour course being offered in a nearby wildlife park. In it, we’re going to walk through the fields and woods, identifying naturally occurring plants and trees in our area that offer edible, if not delicious, sources of nutrition.
I’ve done some self study and have learned from others who know more than me, including Laura. I know Wood Sorrel, Dandelions, Clover, and Chickweed are edible. I can identify them and have tasted them in the wild. I can seek out wild blackberries and persimmons. But I’d like to know more. For example, I’ve read that Cattails are edible but I’ve never eaten them.
Last year, Laura traveled to another city to take a similar but more in-depth course. She came back with a great deal of knowledge about what we can and cannot eat from nature’s bounty.
There is so much that is edible out in the wild. Yet there is also so much that we cannot eat. It’s important to know the difference. Eating the wrong thing can be dangerous. Even touching some plants can cause weeks of discomfort.
That’s why it’s important to learn from an expert. Books are good supplements, but they are no substitute for being able to talk with a true authority in the subject.
Look for a Class Near You
Interested in learning how to identify and harvest wild edibles in your part of the world? Seek out local resources.
- Local Parks and Recreation Departments just may have a program that’s similar to the one I’ve described.
- Community colleges may offer formal seminars or may be able to put you in touch with an instructor willing to hold an impromptu session.
- Agriculture extension offices frequently have community outreach programs that may offer classes in gardening, tree identification, and wild edibles.
If you cannot find a local source, consider traveling to an Eat the Weeds class. DVDs are also of some value but there’s nothing better than talking with a true local expert.
What about you? Do you harvest wild edibles? Could you if pressed into a survival situation?