The Art of Foraging
This section contains everything you need to know to get started with foraging, from what to take with you, the best locations for success, and all of the important safety precautions that you must take when foraging with kids. Firstly, we'll take a closer look at the wonderful pastime of foraging and the health and wellbeing benefits that it brings. We'll then progress onto the equipment you'll need to forage properly and a look at some common foraging locations. Finally, we'll explore the most important Golden Rules for foraging safely, as well as other useful hints and tips for keeping you and your children safe, before exploring a Forager's Calendar, so you can check the availability of different wild foods at different times of the year.
Foraging with your kids is one of the most amazing things you can do. It encourages good health and wellbeing, produces dedicated family time, and creates a natural and stimulating learning environment for kids that is sustainable, informative and most of all, fun! When you forage with your kids you do more than just collect free food, you stimulate their enjoyment of nature and the outdoors and create happy memories of a wonderful childhood. This section looks at how foraging can have a positive impact on you and your children's wellbeing.
You really don't need a lot of equipment to start foraging - many of us will remember foraging for blackberries with nothing more than a plastic carrier bag! To be a bit more prepared, there are a number of items that you may wish to consider, and these are discussed in more detail in this section.
Where to Forage
There are a multitude of places to forage, and you certainly don't have to live in the woods to be able to do it regularly! This section looks at common environments where wild edibles can be found, such as decidious, coniferous and mixed woodlands, grasslands, waterways and the urban environment. It also looks at the importance of understanding a number of key tree species, as these can often be a very important identifying factor in finding certain foods, particularly mushrooms and other fungi.
Many parents are very reluctant to start foraging with their kids due mostly to the concern that their little angel may eat something they shouldn't! This is a very legitimate fear, but with a few simple precautions you can manage and avoid this quite easily. These Four Golden Rules will help you manage and overcome this fear, along with understanding your other responsibilities when it comes to your child's safety whilst foraging, including being aware of your surroundings at all times, and knowing what to do in the event of an emergency.
Other Safety Tips
There are number of other things to consider when foraging, from dangerous country roads and farm animals, to waterway safety and the potential for stings, prickles and insect bites. Other things to consider include allergies, The Countryside Code, and falling afoul of trespass laws and all this and more, including how to forage responsibility, can be found here.
The Forager's Calendar
Although Summer and Autumn tend to be the most fruitful times for wild food, foraging can be a fun year-round activity for the whole family. This Forager's Calendar acts as a quick reference guide to what's available during each of the four seasons, with direct links to those items in the Finds section of the website. It offers a good starting point for knowing what to look for and developing your forager's seasonal sense.