Foraging For Wild Edible Plants and Wilderness Survival Food
Today we live in a highly dependent society that has traded expedience for simplicity, self-sufficiency and purity. Most Americans jump into their fossil fueled vehicles and drive to the local grocery store to buy raw and prepared foods. These foods have been grown using fossil fuel based pesticides and fertilizers. Additionally, other unnatural preservatives, antibiotics and now genetically engineered organisms have been introduced. The components and end products at the grocery and pharmaceutical industries are more often than not shipped thousand of miles in fossil-fueled conveyances before reaching their point-of-sale. This all adds up to gross inefficiencies of energy and devastating environmental damage. Admittedly everyone cannot become a forager, but just as many individuals do their small part by recycling, responsible foraging can also play a vital role in contributing a small part to improving our little planet.
Native peoples had no dependence on any societal infrastructure. They lived as an integral part of nature in which they viewed themselves as an inseparable part of a whole. They felt water, which flowed through their streams, was no different than the blood that flowed through their veins. They would no more dump waste into the rivers than they would put it into their bodies, because in the end they understood that these two actions had the same result. A Native American of old, could travel across this continent with nothing more than his handcrafted loincloth, knife and bow and want for nothing. He would not want for shelter, water, fire, clothing or loneliness. He was a natural part of his surroundings.
Modern man has lost his familiarity and intimacy with nature. In Robert Heinlein’s classic novel “Stranger in a Strange Land,” intelligent sailboat-like Martians raise the main character on Mars from a baby until adulthood. He returns to Earth as an adult with all of his mental references from the Martian society. He is truly an alien to earth. Modern man is also a stranger in a strange land when it comes to his natural place on Earth. Most of the body of natural knowledge is alien to modern man. Fortunately there has been a recent popularization and rekindling of nature awareness. The earlier pioneers of this movement included such notorieties as Euell Gibbons and Bradford Angier. More recently many others have joined in the fight to preserve this knowledge. It is not too late to reclaim our forgotten legacy and rekindle our relationship with the Earth Mother.