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04 Jul 2022

Healthy Living: Foraging is the future

Healthy Living:  Foraging is the future

Foraging is the act of gathering wild food for free. Although it's gained far greater popularity in recent years, for our distant ancestors foraging would simply have been a way of life

BIODIVERSITY is swiftly becoming the most important aspect of our world. It is good for the environment, absolutely crucial for our wildlife and it is the base stone of good health. I have brought it to your attention many times that the more diverse our microbiome – the microscopic creatures living in and on our body, the healthier we are. To get that diversity in the gut microbes we need to feed them with great diversity of plant foods.
If you look around your local supermarket – even farmer’s markets, you see a limited variety of plants – fruits, vegetables, herbs, and spices. Most people tend to buy the same foods week in week out; the demand is not there for greater selection. You might think you eat a great variety, but it is nowhere near what our ancestors ate – and some hunter-gatherer tribes still eat. Wild plants, mushrooms, lichens, algae, seaweed, and other organisms growing wild are commonly found to be higher in nutrients than cultivated varieties and contain unique compounds not found in other foods.
Lucky for us, there are people passionate about wild plants and they forage for sale and teach how to do it if you are interested. Avery and Edward from Thalli Foods (www.thallifoods.ie), this husband-and-wife team gather and preserve wild plants; seaweeds, sea vegetables, wildflowers and other wonderful offerings of the Wild Atlantic coast and bring them to our markets and interested restaurants.
They work with farmers, landowners, schools, and the public to educate them on how and where to find wild foods, how to prepare and eat them, and how they can be commercialised in a way which benefits the environment, and society.
Their aim is to increase the diversity of the human diet while also improving environmental diversity, following Miles Irving’s footsteps in research into wild foods as a future resource for food on our planet. Thalli Foods offers a great variety of fresh and naturally pickled / fermented plants – their elderberry vinegar or their seaweed and fennel sauerkraut is to die for!
They're looking to share their knowledge as widely as they can; the more genuine foragers on the land the better it can be respected and restored, this knowledge will be passed on to future generations, and the less we will need to rely on global trade systems or toxic and destructive agricultural practices.
Edward will co-host a foraging weekend over the of June 11-12, with a fellow forager and friend, Olwyn Williams. On the Saturday you could explore inland terrain of the Kylebrack area, on the Sunday you can gather much coastal bounty before travelling back to Edward’s kitchen in Miltown Malbay to play with some of what you collect.
There will be plenty of foraging of inland plants, coastal plants, and seaweeds. Light bites and lunch will be provided. You can reserve your place via this link: www.eventbrite.com/e/wild -food-foraging-weekend- tickets-328049172907 - or call Olwyn on 087-9047553. I hope to see some of you there!

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