Foraging Fun: Wild Food in Britain

Sunday, May 2nd, 2010
Foraging Fun: Wild Food in Britain

Next time you’re on your bike, why not forage for a bit of grub? You don’t even need to be in the countryside – in most urban parks there’s a lot to look out for, as long as you know where to look.

Foraging for wild food is the cheapest and most adventurous way to source ingredients for a spot of Slow Cooking. It’s also sustainable as its local and seasonal grub – you just need to know what you’re looking for and, like the Zen philosophy, only take what you need, leaving the strong plantlife to propagate.  It’s a simple activity and easy to reach by bike – all you need is some patience, a few cardboard cartons or reusable bags, a pair of scissors and some gardening or washing up gloves.

So what are you waiting for? Get on your bike and forage this bank holiday for the season’s delectable collection of wild garlic, dandelion, nettle and more!

If you’re a beginner, jorg&olif has picked its favourite foraging books and courses in the UK to give you a head start.

Seaweed and Eat it: A Family Foraging and Cooking Adventure by Xa Milne and Fiona Houston

For months my dad was harping on about this book, so much so that he ended up going on a Forage Rangers tour run by the authors in Scotland. He came back with even more effervescence and  I can see why. It’s a book with inspired ideas and recipes as well as providing a friendly and comfy romp into natural history.

The Wild Life: A Year of Living on Wild Food by John Lewis-Stempel

This is a book showing a spiritual journey of the seasons month by month, with Lewis-Stempel as the hunter-gatherer in modern times. It’s the perfect Slow Life read and is the perfect call to action for some bank holiday fun.

The Forager Handbook by Miles Irving

I had the pleasure of my first forage with Irving in the autumn around Hampstead Heath, where I ended up with a secretly foraged dinner that included delicious nettle pesto and sorrel salad. Irving’s handbook is as down to earth and as interesting as the man himself, with each plants’ monograph  carefully categorised and accompanied with recipes and gorgeous photography.

All these Wild Food books and more are available at the Low Impact Living Initiative bookshop.

Wild Man Wild Food

With a fan base including Chris Evans and from the man who has attempted to live entirely on 100% wild and foraged food for a whole year, Fergus Drennan’s personal blog pays humorous homage to his efforts.
Drennan also offers eight to 13 hour forages in different habitats including woodland, field, river, seashore and brown field sites (waste ground) across Canterbury and surrounding areas. Once the food is collected, cooking commences on an open fire for a truly wild feast.

Really Wild Festival

Within Britain’s smallest city, the annual Really Wild Food and Countryside Festival in Pembrokeshire is a great way to get everyone in the family involved in foraging around the Welsh countryside. It aims to preserve, revive and hand on countryside traditions and stories for generations to come.

Wild Forage UK

Fraser Christian, a qualified professional chef, experienced outdoor instructor and forager is joined by experts Vicky Prevett formally with Neal’s Yard Remedies, Tom Litchfield a qualified marine biologist and wild food fan, Chris Tall a graduate in wild food for medicine and Robin Hansford from Eat Weeds for a truly wild experience. The Wild Forage UK courses run across Cornwall, Devon, Dorset, Gloucestershire, Pembrokeshire, Sussex and West Wales. Christian also provides “Catch and Cook” sessions for aspiring anglers and seafoodies.

Wild Food School
Join the outdoor classroom and get an education in weeds with the Wild Food School in Cornwall. Run by Marcus Harrison, you can enjoy half day, full day, week long and even distance learning courses that are bespoke to your requirements (and geography) and level of understanding.

Image: foxypar4

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Jen Marsden is a respected eco lifestyle commentator who regularly writes on fashion, beauty, homes and family. Jen is currently Editor of, the leading daily eco glossy. She is also a regular contributor at Sublime magazine. An organic advocate, she is Chair of the Health Products Standards Committee at the Soil Association, the UK membership charity that promotes sustainable food and farming through the use of local, seasonal and organic systems. A keen traveller, she has lived abroad and worked on various charitable and sustainable business projects in India and Kenya. Jen was recently recognised in the Future 100 Young Entrepreneur 2009 Awards. Jen’s former roles have included Editor at New Consumer magazine, and Home & Lifestyle Editor at Green Guide. Jen is the author of Green Guide for Weddings, published by Markham Publishing.
Filed under Consume, Slow Life