Just think, there was a time not so long ago when many people grew most of their own food. Before the Industrial Revolution, this country was an agrarian culture. Immigrants brought their seeds with them, though many staples, such as potatoes, corn, cocoa, and tomatoes were found already in use here. Long before civilization rose and people started staying in one place to grow food, they wandered and gathered their foods. Our ancestors, whether they were hunters, gatherers or farmers, were in touch with the moon and earth cycles. People knew which foods to gather and when to gather them.
I love gathering wild edible plants. They don’t have to be watered or fertilized. Nature knows exactly what they need. All I have to know is which ones are edible, and when and where they grow. Where I live in Northern California, late Winter and early Spring is the best time to find wild greens. My two favorite wild greens are Miners Lettuce and Chickweed. In the Summer, I love finding wild berries, including blackberries and raspberries. I can eat them straight off the bush, add them to a fruit salad, put them in a kefir smoothie or make a cobbler or pie.
Bradford Angier’s Field Guide to Edible Wild Plants was one of my first books to turn me on to the idea that there are plants waiting to be picked and eaten. A more recent book I like to use is Edible Wild Plants—A North American Field Guide by Thomas S. Elias and Peter A. Dykeman. A highlight of this book is that it has a guide key that includes the season, region, habitat, and edible uses.
After learning where plants grow, and when is the time of the year to harvest them there will be food just waiting for whoever gets there first. When I harvest, I try to take a little from several plants, to make sure the plant will continue to grow for future generations.
JoAnn SkyWatcher is an energy healer. She uses Spiritual Mind Treatment, Visualization, Breath, and Emotional Freedom Techniques. She lives with her Beloved husband, Steve Ryals, author of Drunk with Wonder: Awakening to the God Within in the remote hills of Northern California.