Last weekend we went to a seminar on wild edibles. It was just a walk in the park, led by a woman who has learned to identify edible plants and herbs. But within just a few hundred square feet of the park entrance, in a fairly typical natural ecosystem, she showed us literally dozens of medicinal herbs and edible plants growing naturally.
It was fascinating. It is amazing how much food and medicine is growing wild all around us. And it is sad to reflect on how all this knowledge, passed down through hundreds of generations of humanity, has been lost in the past few decades.
I know a woman who grew up in the mountains of western Virginia. She told me that when she was a little girl she would go with her mother as she walked through the woods and fields and gathered herbs that they would use for medicine throughout the year. She told us that she is sorry she didn’t pay better attention and that when her mother died she took that wisdom with her to the grave. I suspect that millions of people once gathered their medicine this way. Now, almost no one does.
We’re hoping to follow through on educating ourselves better on this and we may try to have the woman who did the instruction come to our farm and put on a seminar here.
One thing she said particularly stuck with me–“These foods and medicines belong to you,” she said. “Folk medicine is the people’s medicine. It is your birthright.”
I can feel in my gut that she is right and that we put ourselves and future generations at risk if we surrender that right to pharmaceutical companies.
May we all start to reclaim that which is ours.