We at forager are concerned with reconnecting people, places and plants. We present the plants, to people, you could say we represent them, since they were once a vital presence in human lives. It’s a gift, a present, to know about these things, that here in our surroundings (wherever you are is here) are other living things that not only express the nature of the place, but which can then become part of our lives, part of our memories, part of our bodies, part our daily routines as we notice, gather, cook and eat them. The funny thing is we then become a much more vital presence in the places where we live. Being present is a matter of being sensitive to, aware of what is here and responding to it. As we walk on by the living things we could eat, which are here, we are not here. We are in fact nowhere. But for those of us who are grasping once again the essence of life and knowledge for every other kind of creature- the ability to unlock what’s needed from the immediate space in which we live- we become creatures once again, by participating in the organic collage of our surroundings by eating wild food. And the world around us says: welcome home.
The undercurrent to our activities could probably be described as re-categorisation. In other words, taking plants out of the piles in peoples’ heads labelled variously ‘amorphous unidentified green stuff’, ‘weeds’, ‘possibly edible but I don’t dare risk it’ etc. and firmly relocating them in a new pile labelled ‘edible, delicious, nutritious’.
Up until now we have mostly dealt with top restaurants. These establishments showcase the work of very gifted chefs who these days seem to have great sway in influencing popular culture around food, in other words how and what people eat. Fortunately the same chefs have chosen in recent years to highlight and celebrate in their cooking wild plants which up until now have been largely ignored at best or at worst have been despised and rejected as noxious weeds. Imagine the extent of the turnaround here, where such plants, against whom an expensive war involving toxic and expensive chemicals (herbicides) is being waged, are suddenly recognised as being delicious and made a central element of many dishes in some of the best restaurants in the world.
Now we are embarking on our first major foray into the retail market (we toyed with doing market stalls back in 2013), an online shop making some of what we collect available to the general public.
A lot of people may find it strange that a commercial enterprise involving plants could have a sense of mission to bring benefits to people and plants by selling them. But it fulfils the mandate in current society, which is centred around commerce. People eating plants in the restaurants we sell to and people who purchase plants from our online shop are making a connection with plants and the plants have started to achieve a place in contemporary food culture as a result.
Hungry for more? Read Born To Be Wild: A Foraging Manifesto to satisfy your appetite...