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Responsible Wild-Crafting - Do's & Don'ts

Updated: Sep 9, 2020

Herbalism is becoming more and more poplar to the general public, which can create positive and negative outcomes for the plant, fungal, and animal kingdoms. Learn more below.


Positive Outcomes: People are starting to understand that western medicine does not have all the answers, and a lot of time it covers up (the bandaid effect) the real problem of mental/physical aliments. I believe western medicine has it's place in the world but people have become overly dependent on pills and doctors options.

Plant medicine is considered going back to the "old ways" of living, the way our great grandparents and generations before us lived. It is a preventive healthy lifestyle. It empowers people to take charge of their own health, and helps create a deeper connection with our Mother Earth. Wildcrafting is about eating "weeds" such as, dandelion, goosefoot, and stinging nettles. I put quotes around "weeds" because I don't believe there are such things as weeds, only people's under educated options. Mother Earth has been here longer than anyone, and She will be here long after humans leave; Her knowledge for long-term survival is deeper than we will ever understand. Wildcrafting is about honoring, respecting, and protecting our Mother Earth.


Negative Outcomes:

Unfortunately the Earth has been neglected and raped by human kind for decades. By clear cutting forests, leaking oil spills, destroying animals homes, building city's in the desert where no one should live, drying up water springs, building damns, overly harvesting fish and sea life, abusing farm animals for massive production for food, and the terrible list could go on and on! Now wildcrafting has gained popularity and over harvesting plants and fungi have become a big concern amongst the plant/fungal communities. Yes it looks super cool seeing a photo of someone with an crazy abundance of Chantelle mushrooms saying "i found gold!", or going into any PCC or Wholefoods and seeing the disgusting amount of wild mushrooms at every store for astronomical prices!?

The main problem with people wanting to wildcraft is they over harvest. People, many claiming to be "hippies" rape the land of it's beautiful bounty. If people continue to over harvest then guess what....there won't be any more to harvest next year, and taking away more biodiversity is limiting our chances of staying healthy and protecting the Earth. If we take away our forests, we take away our medicine.


Do's:

-only take what you need

-if you dig a hole, fill the hole in before you leave

-say hello, show thanks, take a moment to honor the plant or fungi before harvesting / create a ritual around wildcrafting

-only one plant or one mushroom? leave it be! next year there could be 2x as much

-always process plants/fungi while they are fresh and vital, do not wait for them to wilt or die (your loosing the goods if you wait!)

-always leave 80% of the plant or fungi so more can keep growing

-take an herbalism/wildcrafting class

-research plant/fungal properties before harvesting

-go with a friend, or tell someone where your going before entering the wilderness solo

-be extra careful when harvesting flowers, flowers are the reproductive parts of the plant... taking all the flowers = no more plant next year.

-before harvesting, understand how to process, store, and use the plants/fungi

-label everything

-understand symbiotic relationships between plant, trees, and fungi

-be 100% positive about the species that is being harvested


Don'ts:

-never take more than you need

-never take everything, ONLY take 20% of the species

-do not harvest unless you have a plan for the plant/fungi

-if your not 100% sure what your harvesting, DO NOT harvest. there are too many similar toxic plants to take a risk of being poisoned

-never harvest moss or lichen from a tree or whatever it is growing on. moss and lichen are some of the slowest growers, ONLY harvest after a wind storm and they have fallen to the ground.

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