Meet Arthur-Felix ...
A FIVE YEAR OLD FORAGER FROM NORTHUMBERLAND
This site is all about foraging with kids, but it all started with one special little kid called Arthur-Felix, whom I am very proud to call my Son. Arthur is an inquisitive, thoughtful and energetic little boy, and like many little boys his age, he's utterly obsessed with dinosaurs. He introduces himself as "T-Rex" and can often be found stomping around the house and garden, roaring, growling and picking things up with just two fingers, including his knife and fork.
And Sybbie-Nimuë ...
A LITTLE FOREST PIXIE FROM NORTHUMBERLAND
Sybbie was born at home during 2020's first Lockdown. She was a little earlier than expected, and surprised us all by arriving, of all places, in the shower. Like her big brother, she's inquisitive and has an uncanny ability to melt her daddy's heart with just a glance and a smile. Sybbie has only just started her foraging adventures, but has already managed to find Ceps, Chanterelles, Winter Chanterelles and Cauliflower Mushrooms. A whole world of adventure awaits her.
My wife, Christina, and I moved to Catcleugh, a small and very remote hamlet in Northumberland, in 2017, three weeks before Arthur was born. We moved into the middle of nowhere from a town house in the city so we could give Arthur a childhood like no other, surrounded by nature, the forest, and the wild moorlands of Whitelee Moor Nature Reserve and Northumberland National Park.
Arthur has been coming out with us every day since he was just a baby, and after his first foraging experience of Bilberries at eighteen months old, he can now identify lots of edible plants and fungi, like sorrel, wood sorrel, red clover, heal-all, water mint, thyme, rosebay willowherb, elderflower, bilberry, strawberry, blackberry, raspberry, wood hedgehogs, ceps, chanterelles, stinkhorn (which he calls "big stinky willies!") and cauliflower fungus. We often bring home our finds and cook and eat them together as a meal, make desserts, syrups or teas, or do other activities, such as create art with mushroom spore prints. This really does make the whole experience really engaging and family orientated. We also teach him about toxic plants, such as foxglove, yew, and nightshade, and have a strong emphasis on safety, always iterating to him that he's not to put anything into his mouth unless we say it's okay, and we've been doing exactly the same with his little sister, Sybbie-Nimuë, who's two.
Foraging is such a wonderful and valuable pastime, with strong links to folklore, tradition and sustainable living. We love that Arthur is learning about the bounty of nature, the lifecycles of plants and animals (including death) and the changing seasons, but also having so much fun out in the wilds, as well. My wife (who's a clinical psychologist) and I are firm believers that having a hands-on connection to nature and the outdoors creates good health and positive mental well-being in people of all ages, and foraging with kids is a magical way of connecting with the land as well as with each other, learning and experiencing new things together.
We've started to co-write a practical book about it, that details the health and well-being benefits of foraging for kids and adults alike, along with simple things to forage, and how to use them in numerous recipes that kids will enjoy making and eating, all with an emphasis on being together as a family, which really is how it should be!
We created this website as a free resource for parents of kids of all ages who want to learn about foraging so they too can reap the benefits of being a modern outdoor family. Many parents would love to forage with their kids, but are reluctant to do so because they feel that it's simply too dangerous. Whilst there are some risks, they are easily managed with just a few simple precautions that are covered in detail on this website. Please feel free to have a look around, take a look at some of the plants we regularly forage, download recipes, and read about the benefits of foraging with your kids, before going out and actually doing it yourselves! If there's anything you'd like to know, please do get in touch with your questions and share your experiences of foraging with your kids using the contact us page - we'd love to hear from you!
If you'd like to follow our foraging adventures on Instagram, you can do so at www.instagram.com/thegrizzlyforager.
John (Arthur and Sybbie's Daddy)
The Grizzly Forager Team
I came into the living room recently to find Arthur playing "Foraging for Cauliflower Fungus at the Volcano" with his playmobil and thought it made a great family photograph! From left to right - John (Daddy), Christina (Mummy), Sybbie-Nimuë (Sibster) and Arthur-Felix (T-Rex). Unfortunately, Daddy plummeted to his doom down the side of the volcano shortly after this photo was taken and, although he survived the fall, was subsequently eaten by a hungry Spinosaurus. Ah, the joys of Fatherhood ...