I fell in love with my Kent coastal town years ago. That’s when I got majorly into exploring the stunning landscape of the Herne Bay downs, its flora, and the abundance of wild food.
When we think about foraging, blackberry stained hands might come to mind. The joy of juicy berries – sometimes tart, often sweet, can’t be ‘proper’ foraging I’ve been told. It shocks me that many discount blackberry picking – which for many are our first fond memories out in nature.
When I take locals out on a foraging tour, it’s simply the continuation of their journey. Every new plant identified – whether edible or toxic – is a step in understanding and respecting our local landscapes. Foraging throughout the year, you become connected to the seasons, come to appreciate the rain which nourishes and sun which ripens. Summer is a parade of fruits- cherries, raspberries, damsons. Cardamom, pepper and orange are some of the surprising autumn flavours available from seeds. Winter sees edible ‘weeds’ emerging when little else will. Spring is an explosion of garlic, tender greens and fragrant herbs. Each year is an adventure with more to discover.
Guiding locals on their foraging journey, experience doesn’t matter so much as a respect for nature. Litter picking, spreading ripe seeds and introducing native wild food plants to our own gardens are ways to give back for what we take.
With this in mind, I’d like to share my top tips for the sustainable forager:
- Only forage a plant where it is truly abundant. Forage small amounts from multiple plants.
- Research the plant and its value to wildlife
- Leave a wild space in your garden
- Plant native species in your garden
- Share your love and knowledge with others! The more people care about our wild places, the easier it is to protect them.
To join a foraging adventure in Kent, check out http://www.facebook.com/forthandforage or forthandforagekent on instagram