Learning how to forage can be a great way to get in touch with your surroundings, learn about plants native to your area, and to begin making remedies and foods from plants you find. It’s pretty powerful to be able to create things from plants your forage because you know the source and know what goes into making your remedy or food. The important thing is to educate yourself on plants in your area and to treat the land well by foraging sustainably.
OUR FORAGING EXPERIENCE
My friend Ellen and I had an amazing experience foraging in the San Francisco Bay Area. With a basket, pair of scissors, and some cloth bags, we went on a trail in the hills in Lafayette and there was an abundance of lovely plants.
Right off the bat we saw black sage, pine, nettles, and beautiful wildflowers. We spent hours enjoying immersing ourselves in nature and getting a feel for the plants in this area. And of course I had to bring my new camera to document this lovely experience.
Something I love to do while out in nature is to bring a journal. You never know what thoughts nature will inspire, and especially if you’re foraging, you may want to press a flower or plant to go back and research when you get home! I’ve been loving this adorable journal I came across – it has some fun prompts for outdoor adventures:
OUR FORAGING FINDS
Black sage was one of the most abundant plants we came across in the East Bay, so we were able to harvest a large amount. Which is ahh-mazing because I love sage so much! We were able to get enough to make a distillate, infused oils, and have some left over for cooking.
We also found some beautiful wildflowers to make flower essences, sage brush, nettles, and pine needles.
So many fun remedies to be made with these beauties! The first thing we made was a distillate of sage, sage brush, and some lemon leaves. In brief, we went through this process by putting a flat rock in a pot with a small bowl on top. We surrounded the rock with the plant matter and covered the plants with water. Then put a lid upside down with ice on top and let it simmer, until the evaporated water collected in the bowl. It made for such an amazing smelling distillate, which is also great for your skin!
The next step was to make some infused oils with the black sage and pine needles. In 6 weeks time, these infused medicinal oils will be used to create a healing salve that is great for the skin!
BENEFITS OF FORAGING
Foraging does not have to be only taking from the land, although it does have some amazing benefits for you!
Getting in touch with nature and being present
Learning about plants in your area
Be a steward of the land – scatter seeds so plants can reproduce and harvest invasive species
Sustainable food – know where your food is coming from
Create your own medicines
Being active outdoors
And this is just to name a few. Go ahead and get outside and see for yourself the benefits!
THE IMPORTANCE OF FORAGING SUSTAINABLY
The most important thing when foraging is to make sure to do it sustainably. If everyone were to go out and harvest all of a plant, it would have no shot at reproducing and there would be none of that species left next time you want to forage.
Especially because this practice brings us closer to the earth mama, we really want to make sure we are showing respect for the land.
I created a free printable for you, with some easy tips on foraging sustainably. These will be especially useful if you are new to this form of harvesting! I hope you enjoy this and find some use of it on your own excursions:
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