Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Wild Food in the City

I ran an urban, wild food and medicine workshop at the allotment gardens on Sunday. There were about 20 people in the group, including some kids. The first half of the workshop was spent identifying plants, talking about their food and medicinal uses, when to harvest them, in what season etc. We looked at burdock, stinging nettle, yellow dock, red clover, milkweed, violets, plantain, daisies, comfrey, mugwort and grape leaves. I did my best to choose plants that had some part that was in or just coming into season, were both edible and medicinal, easy to identify, prolific and safe. When I compiled the list of possible plants to talk about I came up with over 50 plants!

I brought everyone to one of my plots for the second half. I had a tent set up and straw bales covered with blankets, and it was here that people chose an herbal preparation to make. They could make an infused honey, vinegar or oil with some of the plants we had just talked about.

I also served some drinks and snacks. Of course the snacks were *wild*! I made stuffed grape leaves that I harvested around the city, and then fermented. The stuffing was rice with burdock stalks, milkweed buds, stinging nettle, wood sorrel, dill, mint and my herb salt seasoning which is powdered nettle and bishop's weed leaves mixed with sea salt. I made a dip by blending some more wood sorrel and chives into yogurt. That dish was a big hit and disappeared really fast!

For drinks I offered juice made from my own currant syrup. I made a sun infused iced tea with mint, lemon balm, catnip and marshmallow. Everyone loved the iced coffee with roasted dandelion root, sweetened with maple syrup.

People seemed to be enjoying themselves and interested. I did my very best to provide them with accurate, practical knowledge and I loved having this opportunity to provide food for the workshop group and to introduce them to the plants and share what I have experienced and learned.

I'm sure there is plenty for me to improve on for future workshops, but I can say this: the folks who came out on Sunday were never a group of strangers to me. Even before we met, they were people that I was there to look after, meet their needs and provide for, for the few hours that we were together. I worked hard to do that and hope I made it some ways to achieving it. At the end of the day, I felt satisfied with my efforts and I had a lot fun with this workshop and the great group of people who joined me!

1 comment:

Verona Coxe said...

I'm so glad your workshop turned out well. I just wish I was closer so I could attend as well. Keep up the great work, Amber and keep spreading your knowledge.