Indigenous knowledge loss and a disproportionate mistrust for wild produce has given way for a society of disconnected living.
We no longer know the names of the plants living on our doorsteps; we distrust and dismiss some of the most important food and medicine plants that have always walked with us as our co-evolutionary species.
But let me tell you, food is literally all around you. You probably have PLENTY of highly nutritious and life-force rich foods growing within 3 meters of where you are right now.
To tell the story of plants is Diego Bonetto’s passion, and in this episode he very eloquently shares some of the rich and inspiring foraging wisdom he has accumulated over several decades of reverently communing with nature.
Popularly known as “The Weedy One”, Diego has developed a beautiful reciprocal loving relationship with weeds and wild flora in general, which is truly palpable and contagious.
ABOUT OUR GUEST: DIEGO BONETTO
Diego Bonetto grew up on a dairy farm in northern Italy when it was still common practice to collect the wild produce of the land.
He learned this ancient craft of gathering from the fields and woods while caring for resources.
Diego moved to Australia in the mid 90s where he spent many years working in orchards and garden centres.
Diego runs public and private workshops every week and collaborates extensively with chefs, herbalists, environmentalists and cultural workers and has been featured in a substantial amount of media.
His bestselling book, EAT WEEDS, A field guide to foraging, has been released in 2022.
IN THIS EPISODE WE DISCUSS:
Table of Contents
The Many Benefits of Foraging Your Vegetables
It is extremely inexpensive.
It allows one to learn about botany and to get in touch with a range of flavors & textures that is not available at supermarkets.
It forces one to eat seasonally (the way it should be according to Ayurveda), which allows for our alignment with the cycles of nature.
It is more ecologically sustainable than buying from supermarkets.
Eating a greater diversity of foods than what is available in supermarkets.
If foraging daily or at least multiple times a week, one is always eating fresh foods that still hold the full vitamin and mineral load within. The older and less-fresh plants are, the less nutritious they become.
Broadening Our Food-Source Spectrum
Nowadays society has grown accustomed to having the same highly curated selection of processed foods offered in supermarkets. This dulls our digestive systems and bodies as a whole.
In the wild there is a much greater variety that offers a wider and more potent nutritional spectrum.
50% of our energy intake as humans right now world wide is coming from three species: wheat, corn and rice (and derivatives from these).
20 species of food make up 90% of our energy intake.
Leaving According To The Seasons
This is one of the most essential factors for health according to Ayurveda.
Nature provides at all times (and in every season) with the foods that our bodies need to manage the current environment. If a food doesn’t naturally grow at a certain place, climate or during a specific season, then one shouldn’t be having it.
Allowing for one to truly crave foods and develop an excitement when some of these go back in season, rather than having a steady supply of artificially grown foods all-year-round and becoming accustomed to that.
How To Begin Foraging
Start learning about the plants in your own backyard and the immediate surroundings of your house.
Good plants to start with:
Experiential knowledge is very important. Go out there and see the plants in the wild, see how they grow in relationship to other plants.
Foraging As A Way Of Life & Facilitating A Greater Communion With Nature
When one begins to learn morea about plants and how to identify them, then it’s easy to start noticing them everywhere at all times. This facilitates a greater communion with nature, where all the different plants become like “old friends” we’re constantly meeting every day.
How To Forage Sustainably, Safely & Respectfully
- Start where you are: the best place to forage is in your immediate surroundings (your front & back yard, the park where you walk every day, etc.) that way you know exactly what’s happening there, what grows, whether crops are being sprayed with pesticides, etc.
- One suggestion: if you want to forage from one particular environment, first walk that environment for a full calendar year before even starting to forage.
- Start your journey with a mentor: learn from knowledgable people who have experience foraging.
- Legality: it all depends on where you are foraging & when.
Foraging And Managing Potential Toxicity of The Land
One has to know the land where one is foraging and try to avoid areas that are very prone to being polluted (e.g. next to a factory).
That being said, even if the soil may be polluted, most plants are not necessarily uptaking these pollutants.
In many cases, the plants that do uptake pollutants are renowned for their bioremediation capabilities – their capacity to clean up polluted areas.
Diego’s Website HERE
Diego’s Instagram (@theweedyone) HERE
Diego’s Book – Eat Weeds: A Field Guide To Foraging HERE
Book – Wondrous World of Weeds by Pat Collins HERE
Jake Cassar Bushcraft HERE
A good link for edible plants is Plant for a future
A list of bush regeneration groups in NSW, Australia is HERE
Forum to identify plants on Facebook HERE
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