Foraging was something humans used to know about, before the days of industrial agriculture and popularity of grocery stores. Now we get our food from the store without thinking about how our ancestors would find their sustenance from the land.
I think I’ve avoided this topic because finding information is difficult. I don’t know a single naturalist in the state of Colorado. My grandmother will tell me what flowers we see on a hike, and she has spent years refining that knowledge in this state and Wyoming. But how do we know what to eat? When we are younger, we are told not to eat things we see in nature, it could be poisonous. But what about the nutritious sustenance that isn’t poisonous?
Popularity of Foraging in Haines, Alaska
On my recent vacation to Haines to visit an old friend, I was surprised that the first day we walked around town she remarked that nearly everything was edible that we were walking by. Rose petals, yarrow root, salmon berries, it was natural for locals to spend time foraging from the land.
We visited Glacier Point, and spent several hours picking strawberries from fields that surely inspired The Beatles. It was meditative, fun, and those berries were the best I’ve ever tasted!
Things that make foraging in Haines easier:
- The humid climate contributes to a growing climate
- The smaller population, as well as amount of naturalists who have learned the natural history
- No pesticides are used in town
- Abundant wildlife and strong ecosystems
Where else is foraging an easier task? In what ways is it better than gardening?