Foraging Resources for Beginner’s
You might be amazed at how much food is growing freely all around us. We simply have to open our eyes and look at the world through a new lens. I’ve traveled to 49 states and 6 continents and can say that food is growing all over! I have foraged from from the Northern colder climates of the Great Lakes region in both Canada and the United States down to the tip of Florida, from the Atlantic coastal states to the Pacific Ocean of California and deserts and prairies in between. Not to mention countries around the world.
From West to East and North to South, food is growing all over! Cold climates, deserts and tropics all have their own abundance whether in the city or the wild. The resources exist to help you get started, but only if you apply yourself. Nobody else can learn this skill for you.
This guide is here to help you get started on your foraging journey. But before diving in I want to share that foragers are not takers. We desire to give to the Earth as much as we receive. Foraging is not inherently damaging to Earth, it is our inherent relationship to Earth and we can forage ethically and sustainably. I encourage reading Braiding Sweetgrass by Robin Wall Kimmerer to learn the practice of reciprocity and the honorable harvest. I also encourage reading the ethics and sustainable harvesting sections of Samuel Thayer’s Forager’s harvest book series. Become a steward of Earth through foraging. Here are two more resources: Green Deane’s Foraging for Beginner’s Blog and this short introduction to ethical foraging.
Most of us are foraging on stolen land. LANDBACK is a movement that has existed for generations with a long legacy of organizing and sacrifice to get Indigenous Lands back into Indigenous hands. Currently, there are LANDBACK battles being fought all across Turtle Island, to the north and the South. Learn about the land you are foraging on.
To begin foraging:
–Check out the FindaForager.com database where you can find a forager near you to learn from as well as resources specific to foraging in your region. (See below for my Florida resource section.)
-Pick up a foraging book. You can purchase a book, or check your local library. There are foraging books made for all across the world. Here is a selection of books I recommend. My absolute highest recommendation is of Samuel Thayer’s books.
- The Forager’s Harvest by Samuel Thayer
- Nature’s Garden by Samuel Thayer
- Incredible Wild Edibles by Samuel Thayer
- Samuel Thayer’s Field Guide to Edible Wild Plants of Eastern and Central North America
- The Forager’s Harvest book store has hand selected the best foraging books for the United States
- For my homeland of the Great Lakes Region: Midwest Foraging, Midwest Medicinal Plants Mushrooms of the Upper Midwest, Wild Berries and Fruits Field Guide (these are additional to Samuel Thayer’s books. Samuel’s books are still my top recommendation for this region).
- Mushrooms of the Southeast by Todd Elliott
- The Forager’s Feast: How to Identify, Gather, and Prepare Wild Edibles by Leda Meredith
- Peterson Field Guide: Eastern Trees
-Follow some of my favorite foragers on social media:
- Samuel Thayer on Tiktok and Facebook
- Linda Black Elk on Instagram – Facebook – Tiktok – YouTube
- Alexis Nicole on Instagram – Facebook – Tiktok – YouTube
- Eric Joseph Lewis on Instagram – Facebook – YouTube
-Watch my Foraging Series on YouTube. This series has extensive resources to help you begin your foraging journey. (See below for a selection of my recommended videos.)
–To find a spring near you check out Find A Spring. Using this website you can find pure wild water!
-Go to an Earthskills gathering or other gatherings like them. Midwest Wild Harvest Festival is one of my top recommendations.
-Check out the Falling Fruit website and app. People map out foods that are growing freely all around us on Falling Fruit! You can add the foods that you find as well. If you have trees in your front yard that you want to share, add them here!
See a lot of fruit going to waste in your neighborhood?
Start a group to collect it and distribute to people in need. Check out Concrete Jungle in Atlanta for an example.
Here is a selection of videos:
Florida Resources, where I did my year of growing and foraging 100% of my food:
- See my Central Florida gardening and foraging resource guide.
- Green Deane (Eat the Weeds) offers plant walks around the state of Florida and is one of the most knowledgeable wild foragers in the USA. His YouTube channel and website are a plethora of information.
- Andy Firk is an incredible resource for growing food, foraging and living the good life. I highly advise going on as many of his plant walks as you can for some hands on education in wild foraging. His website is one of the main sources for Florida foraging. His experts page lists over 50 Florida experts that you can learn from.
- Go to an Orlando Permaculture meeting, where you will meet many foragers!
- Go to the Florida EarthSkills Gathering.
- Read Peggy Lantz- Florida’s Edible Wild Plants: A Guide to Collecting and Cooking
- Jon Martin or Fungi Jon is a local mushroom expert and hosts mushroom identification and foraging classes. He also offers private classes.
- Emily Ruff of Florida School of Holistic Living offers medicinal plant walks. Read her biography here.