Our new home has brought us a new opportunity to grow some new wild gardens, and we are going to try and take them in a little bit of a different direction this time around.
We’ll still be wildcrafting some of our favorite wild and native species from our surrounding area to fill our beds, but we are also going to be working with local businesses and entrepreneurs to determine the market potential for the different species we grow as well!
Since moving to the Texas hill country this past Summer, I have been fortunate to meet and work with several other individuals dedicated to sharing and educating others about these wonderful, wild resources. From reknown restaurants to urban farms and markets, there is growing interest in these products as healthy, holistic and delicious cuisine. In working with landowners and small farmers, it’s also important to be able to share as much data on the potential of these resources as possible. That includes productivity, economy, but also market value.
Throughout this next yearly cycle of foraging then, we’ll be actively marketing the products of our wild gardens to local restaurants and businesses that are interested in showcasing local and willd fare, to determine which species are the most profitable, what is the value of all other species grown as well, in addition to the usual data we collect on productivity and environmental impact (i.e: wildlife).
We’re also stepping up our overall construction in terms of design and bed size this year. The Texas hill country is *blessed* with an abundance of beautiful limestone, and we’ve been able to re-purpose several hundred pounds of flagstone and loose fill. The number of species we are growing has also increased. We are adding several aquatic species, so we’ll also be building tanks to house them, along with a few native fish species to act as mosquito control-cum-aquacultures. That will be especially exciting!
In all we’ll be propagating between 15 and 20 different wild and native species of edible plants. Including: Turk’s cap mallow (Malvaviscus arboreus), American beautyberry (Callicarpa americana), prickly pear cactus (Opuntia spp.), canna lily (Canna spp.), winecup (Callirhoe involucrata), passionfruit (Passiflora incarnata), wild onion (Allium spp.), cattail (Typha spp.), American lotus (Nelumbo lutea), wild grapes (Vitis rotundifolia) and an assortment of native herbs and flowers.
Our hope and purpose for this new project is to set down a blueprint which can be followed or applied to any small to moderate sized property or urban farm and garden. We’ve touted the potential benefits of working with these resources for many years, and have seen success in the past in propagating them both for ourselves and others. But now we are unequivocally stepping forward to create a new potential dynamic in the arena of land and habitat management. Proverbally putting our money exactly where our mouths are.
Within the next two years we will have definitive data on the potential and value of managing landscapes for wild and native edible plants, both in terms of their impact on human standards of living and economy, as well as the positive impacts they can have on urban and rural environments.
We will have the basis for forming a new pact with our Land; the seeds by which we can reap a greater freedom and securty for all.