Derek is an ethnobotanist and he explains to us, in the eloquent way he speaks, what that means. He calls himself, "The Crazy Botanist" and you can find him at @botanical.highlander on Instagram where he posts a plethora of videos. My favorites are when he shows us the massive number of plants in his apartment and on his patio.
(Check out the bonus interview we did on Patreon of Derek showing us his plants and talking about how to have your own Urban Victory Garden.) I found out about #blackbotanistsweek from him. Check out the hashtag on Instagram for lots of amazing posts from Black plant people.
When I asked Derek Haynes if he would expand on what I'd heard him say in one of his many knowledge-packed videos that he generously gives to the public on Instagram, he described the subject as "The plants' impact on Black people, and Black people's impact on the plants." Beyond hearing about that, I also asked him to speak because, we need to remember where the knowledge we've learned about plants comes from (often Indigenous people and slaves or slave descendants), and give back in gratitude. We can do that by amplifying those voices and literally giving what we can. So, today I want to amplify Derek. I'm sure you'll be glad I did, after you hear what he has to say.
"If we put education out there in the world for all to get, then we all can grow and cultivate better connections . . . "
From the relationship of plants with people in Africa before the American slave trade, to cotton, to the Gullah people in the southeastern US, rice, peanuts, and beyond, there's so much so many of us don't know or don't think about when it comes to the plants in our daily lives and how they got here and flourished. As Derek says, ". . . without the shipping of slaves, eleven and a half million bodies displaced from Africa and spread out like dice, we wouldn't have any of the American wealth or the generational wealth that some white people feed off of today." He talks about the vine threading through history that links the labor of Black people to the wealth of white people today. I invite you to listen, really listen, and think about how this affects your life today and how you can give back.
Derek tells us that George Washington Carver wasn't just the "Peanut Man," he was a proponent of Victory Gardens, crop rotation (which led to the peanut's fame), cooperative extensions, and organic gardening.
"I feel tasked with informing the world that, for Black culture, we have to be grateful that there was a slave who found a way to pollinate a vanilla bean . . . because you wouldn't have any vanillla-flavored anything if it wasn't for him: a twelve year-old slave figuring it out. You wouldn't have a lot of these grains and plant items that you enjoy if it wasn't for slaves, women braiding these seeds in their hair, because how else did the seeds make it over here from Africa? . . . We have to experience that. We have to be grateful for that." - Derek Haynes
"That's a big thing: to give back. . . . There has been . . . a history that has existed where Black ideals will be had . . . knowledge will be utilized, and Black hands will be left empty." You can give back by supporting Derek and donating to Haynes90 on Venmo and $Haynes90 on Cashapp and reposting his and other Black voices on Instagram and checking out and sharing the posts tagged #blackbotanistsweek
Derek also talked about one of his favorite things to do with plants: make fermented sodas. He gives us the down low on how to make them and his favorite plants to make soda from, including why he loves ginger so much. Then, he graciously shared his recipe for (non-alcoholic) ginger beer.
Derek Haynes's recipe for Ginger Beer
Making the ginger bug
Shred or chop up ginger. Mix equal parts ginger and sugar into mason jar. Add enough water for the solids to float, and to dissolve the sugar.
Cover with cheesecloth or some breathable fabric.
Stir daily, adding a tablespoon of sugar. Ready when bubbly.
Making the ginger beer
1-2 pounds of ginger
2 cups of sugar
1 gallon of water
1 lemon (juice and zest)
1/4 cup of ginger bug
In a pot, add shredded or chopped ginger, and 1 gallon of water.
Bring to a boil, and reduce heat to a simmer for 5 minutes.
Add lemon zest and juice.
You can refrigerate overnight or allow to cool to room temperature. Strain solution and add 1/4 cup of ginger bug.
Place in a warm dark area in a lidded container (mason jar, beer bottles, etc.)
NOTE: Check daily on the soda, opening containers daily to release built up pressure.
Soda is ready when bubbly.
If any foul smells arise, discard soda and retry.
A graduate of North Carolina State University, Derek Haynes’s passion for Botany is readily seen by anyone who meets him. The Crazy Botanist, as he is known, found an allure for plants at a young age. The New Bern native utilizes his creativity, and background, to present botanical tenets on Instagram and Facebook. Haynes believes that plants can help foster community, and communication.
Haynes gives back to his community volunteering with local community gardens, and creating and maintaining relationships, especially within the community of Black plant enthusiasts.
Again, if you appreciate Derek and the knowledge he shared, please support him by sharing his posts on Instagram, and donating to his work at Haynes90 on Venmo and $Haynes90 on Cashapp.
Wow, y'all, the world has completely turned on its head! First coronavirus and now #BlackLivesMatter protests the world over. I hope you are safe and healthy and my biggest hope is that we come out of this better and more compassionate than before, more in touch with nature and love, and what really matters when it truly comes down to it.
I'm so glad I waited to post this episode because it's so perfectly timely for what's going on in the wide world right now. This episode of the Wander, Forage, and Wildcraft podcast was conducted in a new and creative way. Back in early March, I interviewed the serendipitous crew of SV (Sailing Vessel) Tulsi, discussing many things BIPOC. Haven't heard the acronym "BIPOC" before? It stands for Black, Indigenous, and People of Color. This interview focuses on my new friend, Owl, his podcast, QTPOC Talks, and why he felt the need to start the podcast.
Since this podcast was recorded, Owl and his partner, Brian, have lost their housing and been forced to move. Please help them by donating to their gofundme fundraiser to help them relocate.
On this beautiful almost spring evening, SV Tulsi was anchored in Boot Key Harbor in Marathon, Florida. The hosts/captains of the boat are Erica Klopf and Greg Wilkerson. Erica is doing fantastic work as a permaculturist focusing on spreading edible plants throughout Florida. Greg is moving from being a western medical nurse toward a more herb inclusive practice.
Owl Rare, besides hosting the QTPOC Talks (QTPOC is an acronym for Queer and Trans People of Color) podcast, is an Herbalist, making herbal skin products that are especially suited for the needs of Black skin. They are also a yoga teacher, artist, and figure model. They and their partner, Bryan Oliver Green, are from Philadelphia. Bryan is a writer, filmmaker, and teaching artist. He tells about the organization that he has taught for, Scribe Video Center. Bryan says Scribe puts media in the hands of marginalized and disenfranchised people who often don't have access to things like filmmaking. It also teaches them to tell their stories, something so important right now.
Melissa Honeybee has worked with indigenous people in herbalism in Hawaii and beyond and wants to support the plants and unity of all people. And then there's me. I want to be a better ally to all people. As my dear friend and co-teacher/co-founder of the Sassafras School of Appalachian Plantcraft, Becky Beyer, says: much of the knowledge we have about plants and their benefits originally came from indigenous people, slaves, and other marginalized folx. In exchange, for that knowledge, we can give gratitude by asking ourselves how we can be of service to their descendants. I love this! I'm currently getting ready to ship some herbs and herbal medicines to native elders in North Dakota and others on the front lines of the protests, along with trying to expose the work of BIPOC people to a larger audience. (Wanna help? Email me for more info.)
Owl started QTPOC Talks to "bridge the gap between media and artists." They say the algorithms are set to disadvantage a certain type of person. You don't see too many Queer/Trans People of Color glorified for what they're doing. Then they said that "anything that's easy isn't worth doing." And I totally agree. It's time to do the hard work, to stand up against racism and prejudice, and as Owl says, know when to use our voices and when to be quiet to give marginalized voices room to talk and be heard.
"Being compassionate and understanding when another
human being is sharing their energy with me,
having an open heart and open mind,
is really what's needed." - Owl
There is so much more to say here and so much more to the interview, including the struggles of attaining education as a Person of Color, skincare for Black folx, and food as medicine. I don't want to go on, I want you to listen, really listen, to what is said and think about how you can go forth to create a better, more compassionate world.
Please donate to Owl and Bryan's relocation fund.
If you'd like to support this podcast, which I provide free of charge to help make the world a better, healthier place, please join the Foraged Family on Patreon. As a reward, you'll get my educational video of Erica Klopf showing and talking about prickly pear cactus, along with how to forage and cook it.
To connect more with Owl and see all the amazing work they're doing, check out:
OwlRare on Instagram
Adventures with Owl website
Check out the super cool project of SV Tulsi and their floating concerts on YouTube.
I also want to be an ally by giving more exposure to People of Color's voices, so am including just a tiny bit of the huge amount of BIPOC resources and knowledge that's out there. Please include your faves in the comments, so we can all continue to learn.
Knowledge from BIPOC folks:
The BIPOC Project - "People of color have always understood the need for our own spaces without white people present, for our own safety and healing. The BIPOC Project expands on this fundamental understanding and seeks to directly address the gaps in building authentic and sustainable solidarity."
Anti-racism for Beginners - "Diving into the world of anti-racism for the first time can be confronting. It may feel challenging to understand your place and where to begin with educating yourself. Luckily, there are endless resources online to help you learn about anti-racism work, dismantle the unconscious biases that exist within yourself, and take action to create a more just society."
The Creative Root - "Offering affordable online classes, one-on-one wellness consultations, and seasonal small-batch herbal products. We are a community-based & Black woman owned/operated company."
Botany Everyday - A by donation ongoing online botany course offered by my dear friend and incredibly talented ethnobotanist/biologist, Marc Williams. He also runs the nonprofit Plants and Healers International.
@countrygentlemancooks - Offering botanical education and insights into what it's currently like to be a Black botanist (on Instagram)
On Being (NPR Radio Show) Notice the Rage, Notice the Silence - In this episode, Krista Tippett interviews Resmaa Menakem, author of My Grandmother’s Hands: Racialized Trauma and the Pathway to Mending Our Hearts and Bodies about the book and his work with intergenerational trauma, how it shows up in the body, and how we can heal it.
On Being Tending Joy and Practicing Delight - Krista interviewed writer Ross Gay. "The ephemeral nature of our being allows him to find delight in all sorts of places (especially his community garden). To be with Gay is to train your gaze to see the wonderful alongside the terrible; to attend to and meditate on what you love, even in the midst of difficult realities and as part of working for justice."
@iamtabithabrown - Fantastically witty, Tabitha Brown, shares her healthy recipes, moments with her family, and features products from Black-owned businesses. She is hilarious and has helped lift my spirits during these dark times.
@sheinatacarnhall - Offers knowledge on Crystal Medicine Healing and Crystal Tarot Readings on Instagram
Farming While Black - Spotlighting the work of Leah Penniman, "educator, farmer/peyizan, author, and food justice activist from Soul Fire Farm in Grafton, NY. She co-founded Soul Fire Farm in 2011 with the mission to end racism in the food system and reclaim our ancestral connection to land." Check out the great webinar she presented for the American Herbalists Guild on The Plants of Black Freedom.
@inheritblooms - "Herbalist. Daughter of the dust & diaspora. I show you how to take charge of your health w/ plants, ritual & reverence, so you can live life on purpose." Also delicious recipes with herbs and foraged foods (on Instagram).
Disclaimer: Audra and I are both Herbalists, not doctors. As such, we are and will not prescribe, diagnose, treat, cure, or make claims about any herb or product. This podcast and article are not about any specific virus, they focus on our experience with herbs, especially in association with viruses, and what we've seen work in past experiences with ourselves and others.
Audra starts off this episode of Wander, Forage & Wildcraft (the podcast for sharing stories, tips and tricks from foragers and wildcrafters around the world to empower you on your wild path) telling us about her healer's journey.
She came to herbalism as many of us do, by going through a healing crisis. She's grateful for her journey with Lyme because it's made her the Herbalist she is today and able to help others. As the founder of Beautyberry Apothecary, Audra is a big believer in bioregionalism.
My favorite product of hers is Florida Sunshine, a delicious, immune-supporting bioregional tincture. She ethically wildcrafts the herbs in her herbal remedies. She tells us about the plant that her namesake business was inspired by, the beautiful beautyberry (Callicarpa americana) and its herbal magic.
Audra also talks about what it's like when your passion becomes your business and when it doesn't turn out the way you think it will. We talk for awhile about how important herbalism is right now, how it's like a puzzle, and what the definition of an herbalist is today.
Audra and I go deeper into her fabulous article, Community Herbalism for Trying Times: Herbs for Respiratory Health. We discuss how prevention really is the best medicine, how it's the simple things that we often forget, like, "focusing on what's nourishing us." I love that we mentioned how important it is to remember about how this is affecting our nervous systems and giving ourselves permission to rest and not be productive. Please allow yourselves the space to do that, and know that I'm sending huge hugs to my virtual foraged family. Give yourself the gift of nervines, as we talk and Audra writes about. Audra's floral nervine tea that she describes (so we can make our own) made me swoon!
Also included are Audra's favorite lung/respiratory herbs, recovery tips, resources for where to buy herbs, and an incredibly helpful summary of all the tips at the end. And I super apologize for saying "awesome" so much : )
If you want to catch the bonus interview I did with Audra all about demulcent herbs: what they are, why we need them, and some of her favorites; join our wild community at Patreon, support the podcast production, and get so much ongoing botanical education.
Now for two of Audra's favorite herbs as food tonic recipes:
Papa’s Chicken Soup and Herbal Bone Broth
Homemade chicken soup is my go-to food when I need deep nourishment, especially if I’m dealing with an acute respiratory infection. I also love it for times when I’m feeling generally run-down, stressed, or when my digestion is feeling a little weak. It’s just good preventative food-as-medicine! When I was growing up, if any family member came down with a cold or flu, my dad would make the whole house a big pot of chicken soup, hence this recipe’s name (and my nostalgic love for it!). I’ve since adapted my dad’s recipe to my own needs, adding herbs and mushrooms into the mix. I spent many years making this recipe regularly as a part of a healing protocol to restore my gut health and still find comfort in it seasonally. May it nourish you in these difficult times!
(This is a true folk recipe, one I’ve never written down before! It’s a two-part process that yields both a large pot of herbal chicken soup and a large pot of herbal bone broth. Use your largest stock pot and adjust the amount of water you use accordingly.)
1 whole chicken
2-3 onions, chopped
1 head of garlic, chopped
6-10 large carrots, sliced
1 head of celery, sliced
A splash of apple cider vinegar
2 tablespoons butter or cooking oil of choice
Black pepper and salt to taste
Filtered water, enough to fill your pot
Herbs and mushrooms (use what you have access to, but my favorites include) :
2-4 dried reishi slices
4-6 dried astragalus slices
6-8 dried or fresh shiitake mushrooms
A small handful of dried burdock root
A small handful of dried nettle
A large pinch of calendula flowers
A large pinch of dried seaweed like dulse
1 teaspoon turmeric powder
Any fresh kitchen herbs I have growing in my garden, chopped; I usually use a rotating cast of: parsley, cilantro, rosemary, oregano, cuban oregano (Plectranthus amboinicus), sage, thyme, dill, fennel leaves, spanish needle (Bidens alba)
Audra Locicero is a community herbalist and medicine maker, and the proprietor of Beautyberry Apothecary, a seasonal, small-batch herbal products business based out of sunny Sarasota, Florida. Her passion for the natural world, her love of gardening, and her own personal healing crisis led her to pursue herbalism as a hobby and later a career. The focus of her herbal practice is two-fold: to provide information to her community about the ways gentle herbs, nourishing foods, and a balanced lifestyle can support overall wellness; and to create vibrant place-based remedies that highlight the unique plants that thrive in Florida’s many bioregions. Through this work, she aims to spark interest in earth-based medicine and empower individuals to take charge of their health; to make community-based herbal medicine affordable and accessible to all who seek it; and to foster a greater sense of connection, understanding, and care for the non-human world. Her herbal knowledge stems from years of self-study and self-healing, as well as her completion of a three-tier community herbalist training course from the Florida School of Holistic Living. She holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Environmental Studies from New College of Florida, has worked on farms and in plant shops, and has attended out-of-hospital births as a midwife’s assistant. Alongside her work as a community herbalist, she is currently pursuing a career in conservation and hopes that whatever form her work in the world takes, it is always forwarding her goal to protect and preserve the Earth’s greatest gifts. Her role as an herbalist is ever-evolving, and she’s excited to see where it will lead her next!
If you like the podcast, please like, subscribe, comment and share!
If you're able, support Wander, Forage & Wildcraft financially by becoming a patron starting at just 5 bucks a month or make a one-time donation, so I can keep this education free.
Please comment with your thoughts, how you're coping right now and the herbs that are helping you make it through, and share this with everyone who needs it (ie everyone).
Are you hugging?
That’s what my friend, Lori, co-owner of the Yaupon Teahouse in Savannah, Georgia (a delightful shop serving up the only native North American source of caffeine, along with herbal products including yaupon, and classes I’ll be teaching [a podcast and blog on the incredible yaupon research they’ve done soon]) asked as we saw each other again. It was mid March and the reality of coronavirus/COVID-19 was starting to set in, along with the accompanying fear, for a lot of people. I’ve been wanting to write an article about it since then, but have been waiting because more resources keep surfacing, and I want to include them all. Then I realized that they’re multiplying faster than anyone can keep up with, so I’ll just keep updating this article as they come in. Please add any good articles/resources you’ve found to the comments below.
First I’m going to tell you what I don’t want this article to be, and then what I do.
I do not want this article to be a list of herbs that you can take and specific protocols for fighting the virus. Why not? Because:
1. I feel that there are lots of articles, many from highly reputable herbalists, already doing that, and you can look below or easily do a search and pick and choose what makes sense to you. And I really do encourage you to do your own research. As herbalism is a holistic science, I think it’s always important to remind ourselves that not every herb/remedy works for every body.
2. I feel like the general media and big agencies are putting a big emphasis on a few tactics we can use for prevention, i.e. social distancing, handwashing, cleaning surfaces; and are ignoring so many other simple, natural, and available options.
3. As an Herbalist (ie a health practitioner that of an unlicensed branch in the US), I cannot make any claims, prescribe, treat, cure, or diagnose. Just by writing this article, I'm putting myself at risk. You might want to print it out, in case I have to take it down.
I do want this article to give you those simple options in an accessible way, along with some awesome resources for you to feel empowered.
The words “social distancing” have been making me cringe every time I hear or read them. The R in WANDER School stands for “Reconnection”. I believe that the biggest issues in the world today, causing dis-ease and unhappiness, are disconnection, of people to each other and to nature. Creating more isolation and loneliness seems like one of the worst things we can do right now. Connection keeps our immune symptoms more highly functioning.
Don’t get me wrong, I support everyone’s right to handle this the best way we all see how. And minimizing our contact with others, especially large groups, could help a lot to contain the virus. My friend Lori created a term I love to describe one way of looking at this situation, “unintended opportunities”. Here’s some unintended opportunities that I can see:
For me, an unintended opportunity is time to focus on getting online education finished and launched. I’ve been wanting to do this for years, to answer your requests for more accessible botanical education, no matter your location or schedule. Chek out my brand new foraged e-cookbook, The Wild Foraged Life (included for Patrons on Patreon at the $10/month level and above), and my upcoming herbal medicine making video series, The Wild Herbal Life.
Speaking of which, now more than ever, your support of small businesses is needed, if you’re able. And it’s the perfect time for home education. (If you’d like to continue your wild edible and herbal education while you’re sitting at home, check out The WANDER School’s Patreon site for ongoing education in the form of botanical ID videos, foraged cooking classes, podcast bonus material, and workshop summaries.)
Here’s some suggestions from what I’m doing myself to keep myself and my family healthy and prevent illness. If you are pregnant, have health conditions, or are taking medication, please check with your health practitioner before trying anything new. And remember that we are all individuals with different bodies, chemistry, and needs. Your body may react differently and not like some of this. The best thing you can do for your health is to listen to your body.
As promised, here are a bunch of articles for your own research on what to be aware of and what to do/herbs and supplements to take for prevention and if you get the virus:
COVID-19 Resources - American Herbalists Guild - A huge collection of articles and resources from a wide array of herbalists and others
COVID-19: An Integrative MDs Commonsense Approach - Aviva Romm - A collection of articles written by MD, Herbalist, and Midwife, Aviva Romm, including info on the virus and pregnancy and breastfeeding, autoimmune disease, general symptoms, and how to talk to kids about the virus
COVID-19 Community Care Center - Herbalista Free Clinic - As always, an incredible breadth of knowledge on a wide variety of topics, from dealing with the virus in community, to sanitation guidelines, and a plethora of recipes (including hand sanitizer)
Herbal Treatment for Coronavirus Infections - Stephen Harrod Buhner - A good explanation of how the virus works, many suggestions for specific herbs and formulas, though some herbs are Asian and may not be readily available in the US
An Herbalist’s Note on the COVID-19 Virus - 7Song - A helpful resource for herbalists, especially those who work with clients/in clinics
Coronavirus Disease (COVID 19) - Oscar Sierra - some great preventative measures that you might not have heard, with helpful herbs for the virus, and some good info on zinc and how to take it
What’s the Deal with Elderberry and Cytokine Storm? - Larken Bunce - answers questions that have been coming up lately about possible adverse effects of elderberry, with folks with autoimmune issues and the general public.
Coronavirus Resources - Matthew Wood Institute of Herbalism - various resources and a free webinar with Matt and Phyllis Light 3/23
COVID-19 Resources - Heartfelt Tidbits - Info on the virus, activities for kids, how to get or give help (from a fabulous nonprofit in SW Ohio that supports immigrants and refugees)
To close, I want to let you know that I understand what you’re going through and support you. We're all feeling so much and it's important to let ourselves feel it, honor it, and make space for tons of rest. I’m sending you my love, virtual hugs, and healing herbal energy.
Please comment with your thoughts, what is working for you, and any resources you’ve enjoyed that you’d like to share with our community. And if you appreciate this information and you can, please support this important work, especially now when it makes the biggest impact, by becoming a patron on Patreon (as low as $5/month) and the upcoming online education I’ll be offering. Are you on the WANDER School email list? If not, sign up now so you’ll know when all this cool education is released. In the meantime, thanks for being you, being awesome, and stay healthy.
You can now check out the latest episode of the listener-supported podcast I dreamed up: wildcrafters and foragers around the world share their stories, tips and tricks to empower you on your wild path.
Give it a listen below (or listen and subscribe to Wander, Forage & Wildcraft on your favorite podcast platform).
If you like what you hear, you can become a patron on Patreon for as little as $5 per month to support production of the podcast and get extras, like the recording Bill did with me about The Nutty Buddy Collective, a multi-generational project he helped co-create with the "goal of working with community partners to bring native crops to local tables at an economically viable scale, in an ecologically viable way."
About the Episode:
It was nuttin' but a pleasure and honor to interview Bill Whipple, who came up with the title for himself of "Disruptive Hybridizer" while we talked. He was one of the intiators of the Acornucopia Project , of which he says (in this episode) their dream is to, "foster small independent, autonomous nutteries in the region that can support one another." Bill was a street performer in the past. This, along with his love of nuts as a way to inspire community relationship, shine through in our impactful and entertaining conversation.
Here (above) Bill sits, cutting x's into chestnuts from West Virginia for us to snack on while we talked in his hand built tiny home, surrounded by the literal fruits and nuts of his labor. I felt right at home! We drank his signature beverage, "Trea", tea from tree leaves grown on his farm (listen to hear all about it) on his birthday, while he wore a pink tie under what he calles his "elf jacket" with a slice of bitternut walnut that he made into a button.
Acorn Chocolate Pudding
(the gateway to acorn consciousness)
From The Nut Book - A Manifeasto of Community Nut Processing by Bill Whipple
Acorns aren't just for baking. They stovetop into amazing soothing and nourishing foods, like rues and puddings. Use it as a thickener to make a savory version of this called "forage porridge".
ACORN FLOUR- 1 CUP (I prefer red oak)
H2O - Start with 4 cups (hickory broth is best)
powdered chocolate - 8 tbs (roasted dandelion is more authentic)
sugar - 8 tbs (maple syrup would rock the boat here)
salt - 1/2 tbs
cinnamon - 1/4 tsp (spicebush would be the real deal but use less and work up, its potent!)
vanilla - 1/4 tsp (from native, temperate, vanilla trees of course! ;)
Coconut oil - 2 tbs (black walnut pulverized into a butter would leave the competition at the gates at any county fair contest)
Simmer cracked hickories and strain off meats from the top.
Blend with a little hickory broth. Add rest of strained broth and blend.
This is your base to slowly add acorn flour while humming:
"Stir, stir, stir the pot gently o'er the flame. if you won't, or if you don't, there's no one else to blame"
Add everything else to taste. The more creamy yummy added, the better it will be. This will set up and jiggle just like real store-bought jello!
Bill's Bio: Bill Whipple considers himself a "disruptive hybridizer". He has made it a life's work to transform contradiction into compliment. He has been commercially growing biologically grown fruit on his West Virginia farm for 33 years. He moved to Asheville in 2000 and began to revive and develop the Edible orchards in public parks. In 2014 a band of these enthusiasts created the Nutty buddy Collective who are growing select native nut genetics in what he calls "Forchards" (forest/ orchards). These orchards will become models for the perennial tree crop agriculture that will replace the travesty we call annual commodity agriculture. Tying this together is the Acornucopia Project which is a "nutwork" of visionaries who are developing processes, products, and infrastructure that will make the nuts crops accessible to the people.
Episode #7 of Wander, Forage and Wildcraft is here!
You can now check out the latest episode of the listener-supported podcast I dreamed up: wildcrafters and foragers around the world share their stories, tips and tricks to empower you on your wild path.
Give it a listen below (or listen and subscribe to Wander, Forage & Wildcraft on your favorite podcast platform).
If you like what you hear, you can become a patron on Patreon for as little as $5 per month to support production of the podcast and get extras, like the recording Kelly did with me about piñon pines.
About the Episode:
I've been following Kelly's work for awhile and, honestly, having a little bit of travel and plant nerd envy of the work she does. Her work with the Ground Shots Project is nothing short of freaking amazing! Our podcasts share similarities of interviewing and spreading the word about folks doing cool work with plants, however she travels the world doing it.
More specifically and in her own words, "The Ground Shots Podcast is an audio project that features conversations and storytelling about our relationship with ecology through the intersections of activism and creativity. This includes field recordings of folks in their element, music recordings, interviews, story captures, and more."
She asks the important questions, like, "How do we do our work in the modern age, when the urgency of ecological and social collapse sometimes feels looming? How do we creatively and whole-heartedly navigate our relationships with one another and the land?"
In our interview, we talked about this and more, including Madrone berries (a fave tree of mine in California), the land-based web of interconnection, how farming led her to foraging, how foraging revived her grandmother's traditions, how wild foods reflect the regional flavor, how she learned to forage sustainably with United Plant Savers (a fantastic organization) and the risk of foraging in the western U.S., along with reseeding as a way to wildcraft ethically. I loved our conversation how our foraging and wildcrafting can actually benefit plants if done in an ethical way. We also talked about the piñon pine and its edible nuts, how to forage and process them, and the medicine you can make from the resin. We finished the episode with her story of a Juneberry/serviceberry (Amelanchier canadensis) foraging adventure.
We talked about her love of foraging piñon pine in California. She generously shared her recipe for Savory Winter Squash Pie with Pine Nuts (below).
Kelly Moody grew up in rural southern Virginia near the border of North Carolina in tobacco and muscadine country. She went to her grandma's house daily as a child, where fresh biscuits and iced tea were a regular necessity. Her other grandma was a determined plant lady who started a nursery business on the outskirts of their small rural town, which remained open for almost 50 years. Kelly grew up hiding with her sister in the tropical greenhouses, taking craft classes in the small nursery workshop, shelling green beans and canning tomatoes. These experiences of being on the family farm, working with plants and creating followed Kelly into her adulthood.
Much of the past decade she has spent living in different places and studying plants, ecology and craft, writing about the land, growing food and herbs, or honoring her wanderlust and love of learning new plants by traveling cross country in various incarnations.
She received a B. A. in Philosophy and Religious Studies in 2009 from Christopher Newport University in Virginia. For over a decade she has studied herbal medicine, ecology and botany with teachers like Rebecca Golden in southern Vermont, Paul Strauss and Chip Carrol at the Goldenseal Sanctuary in southeast Ohio, Luke Learningdeer and Marc Williams in western North Carolina. She apprenticed with Juliet Blankespoor and attended the Chestnut School of Herbal Medicine in Asheville, NC in 2013. She helped manage the gardens at Dancing Springs Farm in Asheville, NC from 2014-2016. She studied book arts and paper making at Penland School of Crafts in North Carolina. She has taught hide tanning techniques for classes held by the medieval bookbinder Jim Croft at his rural Idaho homestead from 2017-2019. She has completed a handful of ecological activism focused artist residencies and workshops including Signal Fire's month-long Wide Open Studios program during the summer of 2017 in the Pacific Northwest and in the fall of 2019 in the Southwest. Her teaching over the years has included classes on hide tanning, plant ID, wild foods, medicine making, natural dyes, nutrition and gardening.
Kelly’s interest in both storytelling and cross-cultural dialogue comes from both an upbringing in the rural south filled with story, and by the inspiration of meeting people on the road during large periods of nomadism.
Of Sedge and Salt, Kelly's website, blog, and Ground Shots podcast episodes
Of Sedge and Salt Patreon site to support the podcast and her work
Kelly's Piñon Pine Plant Profile
Find Kelly on Instagram @goldenberries
The Ground Shots Podcast on iTunes, Spotify, TuneIn, etc.
Links to organizations mentioned in the episode:
Zach Elfer's Nomad Seed Project
United Plant Savers
A delicious regional recipe from Kelly:
Savory Winter Squash Pie with Pine nuts
First, bake several favorite winter squashes cut in half, open face in the oven for 20-30 minutes.
Take squashes out of oven.
Chop bacon into small pieces and sauté to brown. Remove bacon, and leave oil in pan.
Sauté leeks, black walnuts, piñon pine nuts and garlic in bacon fat.
In a separate bowl, smash winter squash into a consistent mush, removing skins if you desire. At this point I add some salt to taste, as well as melted butter or ghee into the blend. After this, add leeks, bacon, pine nuts and walnuts to blend.
I generally don't do gluten so I improvise different kinds of interesting crusts. In this case, I had a few wild foods to add to my crust mix. I mixed a half of cup of honey and a pinch of salt to homemade Yampah root Perideridia gairdneri flour, blue corn grits and gluten free baking flour. I slathered the crust mix into a an oiled glass dish pushing the dough up the sides (its more of a honey paste than dough). You could add pine nuts to the crust here, too.
Pour the winter squash mix into the open crust, smoothing over the top. Crack a handful of pine nuts and place them on top of the pie. I also add walnuts here!
Bake on 400 F for 30 minutes or so. Take out, let cool before eating.
If you want to learn more fascinating piñon pine details, become a patron on Patreon to hear our bonus interview material.
Whether you're decking the halls, lighting the menorah, preparing for a feast, or hibernating this time of year, I wanted to make sure you knew about all the great gifts from The WANDER School - this is a small yet mighty woman-owned and operated business that exists to inspire nature reconnection and health empowerment.
So, for anyone on your list who is wild food or herb curious...look no further.
It's never too early to start planning your holiday gift giving, and with Small Business Saturday right around the corner we wanted to get you thinking about gifts we have available. Read on, let us know if you have any questions, and as always...green blessings.
If you are a super-generous plan-ahead kind of gift-giver..
...and you know (or you ARE) someone that wants to learn in person the art of Appalachian plantcraft, folk herbalism and wild foraging...
You're in luck because enrollment is now open for The Sassafras School of Appalachian Plantcraft 2020, a collaboration of Abby Artemisia and Becky Beyer for students to learn the folk ways .
Founder of the WANDER (Wild Artemisia Nature Discovery, Empowerment, and Reconnection) School, Botanist, Herbalist, & Professional Forager, Abby Artemisia, lives in rural Appalachian North Carolina. She learned about plants playing in the Midwestern woods of Ohio, working on organic farms, an herbal apprenticeship, a bachelor's degree in Botany from Miami University, and running her own tea business. She teaches about plant identification, native plants, and working with plants for food and medicine throughout the country. Her mission is offering nature and herbal education to create healing through connection with the natural world and each other. She is the author of The Forager's Wild Edible and Herbal Plant Cards and The Herbal Handbook for Homesteaders. She is the host of the podcast Wander, Forage, and Wildcraft, founder of The WANDER School, and co-founder of The Sassafras School of Appalachian Plantcraft.