Location

Pick a location that has not been sprayed with pesticides and that you are allowed to forage on. Most parks do not allow foraging, so your backyard is best or a friend’s yard if you have asked permission first.

Identification

Make sure you are 100% sure you have the right plant. We’ll dive a lot deeper into identification in the Online Wildcrafting Community.

Use all of your senses! Something that looks like wild field garlic without the garlic smell is NOT garlic! It may be a look-alike flower that is poisonous!

Learn all plant look-alikes, but especially the poisonous ones! There are fewer poisonous plants than edible ones, so it’s easier to memorize what you must avoid that what you can eat.

Sustainable Harvesting

Avoid all threatened and endangered plant species!

Limit your harvest to no more than 30% of the leaves, fruit, or roots of the plant species in your location.

Only gather the part you plant to use. For instance, if you plant to consume the leaves, gently clip off a couple of leaves off each plant rather than pulling the entire plant out of the ground. The plant will continue to thrive and grow new leaves.

Permaculture

One of the best things you can do to increase the sustainability of your own food sources is to grow native plants on your own property. This will be beneficial on your wildcrafting journey both so you can avoid pesticides and harvest in a sustainable manner that does not damage public spaces.

Most native plants can either be consumed or used medicinally. Check your state native plant society for a detailed list of what is native in your own state. A few of my favorites include:

Juneberry – Delicious, blueberry-like fruit that both the birds and humans can enjoy.

Milkweed – A plant essential to the survival of 3 insect species that can be eaten and used medicinally.

Elderberry – Edible, medicinal, and beneficial to wildlife.

St. John’s Wort – A medicinal plant that used to be used in every household as a salve. Now very commonly used and proven to work with mild or moderate depression and anxiety. The main side-affect is a sensitivity to sunlight, but also can interfere with hormonal birth control.

Jewelweed – A proven remedy for poison ivy.

Beebalm – In the mint family and beneficial to native bees, birds, and butterflies. It has a long list of medicinal properties – antimicrobial and soothing, often used to treat colds and flu. It can calm the digestive tract and helps to treat indigestion, bloating and nausea.

We’ll be going into growing your own wild, native plants a lot more in future posts and how to make your own medicinal and therapeutic honeys, tonics, teas, salves, soaps, and syrups.

The rest of this post is for Wildcrafting Members Only. Please sign up for our online community here:

https://tracksandroots.com/register/online-wildcrafting-community/

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