Some Rules of Foraging
Foraging is defined as searching for wild resources. Be sure to research every area in which you would like to forage. Be sure to research the regulations for every location you would like to forage. One should always ask permission from private landowners. There are National Preserves, National Forests, National Wildlife Preserves, State Parks, TVA Land, Land Trusts, Municipal Parks, Right of Ways and more! Be sure to check the regulations to avoid fines and possible arrest. Respect the sanctity of the land.
- Do not harvest endangered species.
- Always leave enough to not endanger the plant population. Some consider a harvest of 5% the golden rule. Do not decimate one area causing damage.
- Never take more than you can use. It is a waste of time and resources. Do not be tempted to overharvest.
- Be a good steward of the land by doing as little damage to the plant and its environment as possible. Be attentive when digging or cutting. Know best practices.
- Be absolutely 100% certain of the identity of the plant you are harvesting. There should absolutely be no doubt of what you are harvesting using several identifying features such as leaves, stems, flowers, bark, and context in which this plant is found, etc.
- Know for certain which part of the plant is edible, the season in which it is edible, and what the correct method of preparation is.
- Again! Only forage where it is safe and legal to do so. No trips into the woods during hunting season. Is your foraging area next to a superhighway or a farm area that uses pesticides and herbicides, or in a flood plain?
- Be prepared for emergencies such as falling or getting lost and more.
- Keep learning though field guides, classes, and experts.
- Begin in your own backyard! There are many beneficial wild plants to be found.
- Keep a written and photo journal and consider a digital location record.
- We forage for our health and to appreciate and connect to the natural world.