Wild Food School USA ™
Why Eat Weeds and Wild Plants ?
Foraging for wild foods also gets you outdoors - even if it is only to sneak out to your backyard. For many folks it's a chance to re-connect with, and get closer to, nature - given that many of us live in urban environments.
Some edible weeds are also more nutritious than the veggie greens you get from your supermarket shelf. Nettles more than match spinach as a source of vitamin C, and there's one edible species with 2 to 3 times more pro-vitamin A than spinach.
Food security is really about individuals and households having economic and physical access to sufficient nutrition at all times, and not live in hunger or fear of starvation. Volatile food commodity prices can make foods too expensive to purchase, so wild foods and edible weeds can supplement the diet.
At it's worst there might be a catastrophic failure of the world's wheat crops. Currently a fungal ' rust' (called strain Ug99) has been spreading eastwards from Africa towards Asia. Were it to go global then wheat production could collapse totally and countless millions would starve. Just think about what happened during the potato famines of Europe in the 19th century, and that was when the world population was very much smaller.
At its most severe, a wilful terrorist act could disconnect the civil infrastructure and food chain, leading to panic buying and hoarding of foods, so that within a matter of days (estimated to be 3) there is no food available on store shelves, and consequently the potential for widespread public disorder and hunger. If you have a knowledge of edible wild plants and weeds then you will have better food security and self-reliance in stressful times.
So it's good to get to know your edible weeds, for many reasons!
Copyright © M. Harrison 2010