Finding Your Food

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a marketplace food stand

Liz Waid and Colin Lowther look at foraging – searching for food growing wild. They look at the benefits, and some warnings, about this method.

Voice 1  

Welcome to Spotlight. I’m Liz Waid.

Voice 2  

And I’m Colin Lowther. Spotlight uses a special English method of broadcasting. It is easier for people to understand, no matter where in the world they live.

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Voice 1  

Sergei Boutenko was 13 years old. His family decided to go on a long hike. They planned to walk for many days through forests and mountains. They would carry everything they needed. They planned everything well. But a few days into their hike, the family had no more food. However, they did have a book that identified which plants they could eat. They survived by eating plants they found. Boutenko explains in his book about finding food,

Voice 3  

“Wild food grew everywhere along the trail, so it soon became the main thing we ate. By the end, most of our diet was wild plants. All of the new plants we used in our meals were fresh and very good for our bodies. We were amazed how much we enjoyed the flavor of our food and always looked forward to the next meal. In short, discovering wild food let us successfully finish our hike.”

Voice 2  

This event started Boutenko’s love for finding food in nature. There are many people just like him in many parts of the world. They love to forage or search, for food. Foraging can save money, improve health, and change how people see the world. Today’s Spotlight is on foraging for food.

moose in a field of grass
Photo: Dana Critchlow
Voice 1  

For most of human history, people did not get their food from a store. There were no large factory farms that put food in boxes and cans. People ate the food they grew on their own land. They hunted wild animals. And many people want to return to this way of living.

Voice 2  

Foraging has become popular in recent years. People like Boutenko understand that there is food all around us. People have just forgotten how to see it. Brigit Anna McNeill teaches people how to forage. She also writes on her blog about foraging and how it connects people to the earth.

Voice 4  

“There is a lack of connection in our modern lives. It cannot be replaced with the latest iPhone, dress, bag, shoes or party. Many people live and work surrounded by concrete and steel. They eat processed foods. This limits contact with nature. Eating and gathering wild food brings me to nature. I know when I am eating more wild food, I feel more alive. I think of food as the greatest medicine and wild food is full of so much goodness that it heals me from the inside.”

Voice 1  

People who forage for food say there are many benefits to foraging. The first is that it can be very fun to do. Walking through nature is good for everyone. Children especially love to find plants they can eat. It can feel like hunting for treasure. It is a wonderful way for families to spend time together.

Voice 2  

Foraging can also save money. No matter where you live in the world, people spend a lot of money of food. Foraging can reduce the amount of money spent of food.

hand holding mushrooms
Photo: Nico Benedickt
Voice 1  

And eating wild food both tastes good and is good for you. It is healthy food. There are berries, fruits, mushrooms, seeds, ocean mussels, flowers, and spices and herbs that grow wild. And wild food grows everywhere. You can forage no matter where you live.

Voice 2  

Foraging can also change the way you see the world. When you can walk through a park or a forest and see food all around you, it changes you. People who forage are able to see that the world is not a frightening place. It is full of life. Everything we need to live has been provided for us.

Voice 1  

If you want to start foraging there are a few steps you should follow before you start eating what you find. First, find an experienced forager. Not all plants are edible. Some can make you very sick. An experienced forager will help you know which plants are safe to eat.  Many places around the world have foraging groups or clubs. People in these clubs forage together. They share knowledge and information about what plants are good to eat and what plants to avoid.

Voice 2  

Second, get a good guide book. A good guide book will identify all the edible plants where you live. It will have pictures of the plants. It will also tell you what parts of the plant you can eat. Plants have leaves, roots, stems, flowers and fruit. Just because you can eat one part does not mean you can eat all parts.

Voice 1  

Third, learn the common poisonous plants in your area before you begin to forage. This will help you feel more comfortable foraging. And before you eat any plant you find, you should know it is completely safe to eat. Never guess if a plant is safe or not.

Voice 2  

Fourth, use all of your senses to identify plants you find. Plants smell, feel, and look different from each other. Use all of these senses to identify a plant.

Voice 1  

Finally, foragers must remember a few simple rules for foraging. Robin Shreeves wrote about foraging in Finland for the website Mother Nature Network. She suggested a few general rules to follow when you forage.

Voice 5  

“For your own safety, know how to correctly identify edible plants. Many plants can be poisonous. If you are in an area that has been sprayed with chemicals, like a public park, the edge of a farm, or someone’s back yard – those wild plants could be covered with chemicals. Also, take only what you will use. Leave at least half, even if you could use more. Do not step on other plants to get to your desired food. And make sure you have permission to forage on the land. If you are on private property or publicly owned property such as a park or nature area, foraging may not be permitted. Finally, if a plant has damaged leaves, mold, dark spots or other signs of being unhealthy, do not eat from it.”

Voice 2  

Foraging can be fun, save money, and make you healthy. But some people do not like the idea of finding their own food. Do you think you would like to try foraging for food? Do you already forage for food? Tell us about your experiences. You can leave a comment on our website. Or email us at radio@radioenglish.net. You can also comment on Facebook at Facebook.com/spotlightradio.

Voice 1  

The writer of this program was Adam Navis. The producer was Michio Ozaki. The voices you heard were from United States and The United Kingdom. All quotes were adapted for this program and voiced by Spotlight. You can listen to this program again, and read it, on the internet at www.radioenglish.net. This program is called, ‘Finding Your Food’.

Voice 2  

Visit our website to download our free official app for Android and Apple devices. We hope you can join us again for the next Spotlight program. Goodbye.

Question:

Do you ever gather your food from the wild? Would you ever try finding food this way? Write your answer in the comments below.

Join the discussion

12 comments
  • I actually still can’t quite think I could often be one of
    those reading through the important tips found on this blog.

    My family and I are sincerely thankful for your generosity and for giving me the advantage to pursue my chosen profession path.
    Many thanks for the important information I got from your web-site.

  • I never gather food from the wild,but I wish that. Currently, I can’t do that because I live in an are doesn’t have forests and I don’t have experience about foraging. In the future I will be able to forage insha e allah

  • I not gathering my food in the wild, I don’t have any places to do the gather and i don’t have any experience about it, my family always buy all our food for the store because there were have any time to do gather.
    Thank you

  • No, I didn’t,
    I have never tried,
    I’d like to try and have this experience in future,
    Thanks for writing and speaking with those beautiful voices,
    Thanks for your all team.

  • I think foraging is so exciting to do and it have benefis to our health
    actually i live in a country that does not have green enviromental so i cant do it.

  • Oh! Very nice to hear that foraging is becoming popular now a days. When I was child ,my group also foraged like at banana farm, on mango tree,fruits from many herbs and shrubs.We were very healthy and life loving during those days than today.

  • When i was a child, finding wild food was easy, because people in my hometown didn’t have much money the things we needed such as: meat, fish, vegetables, fruits…it was all grown by them, animals are fed with natural food. So all of these are fresh and safe to eat.

  • From: ssramossilva@gmail.com
    To: spotlight program
    Subject: to answer the questions below
    Date: Sunday, October 18, 2020
    Location: São Paulo city São Paulo Brazil South America

    Dear Liz Waid, Colin Lowther, Adam Navis, and Michio Ozaki

    First, I want to tell you that congratulations for bringing us more one great article. Thank you very much.
    Question 1 – Do you ever gather your food from the wild?
    Answer 1 – No, I do not.
    Question 2 – Would you ever try finding food this way?
    Answer 2 – No, I would not.
    God bless you
    Severino Ramos da Silva
    Brazil

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