Tag Archives: rewilding

Event: Spring Foraging Campout 2019

 

This Spring, March 16th – 17th, Green Valley Gardens is holding a 2-day Wild Foods weekend on their organic, permacultural farm in North Texas.

Comprising over 100-acres, this family farm showcases a variety of sustainable land management practices and a diversity of natural resources. Come enjoy the weekend with us as we celebrate the return of Spring and explore all the amazing foods growing in this beautiful landscape!

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Green Valley Gardens was created as a start-up market garden, just North of Denton, Texas. They are active promoters of local farmers markets, and regularly work with other local growers to bring environmentally-conscious, quality food to North Texas. They also work hard educating and sharing their practices with others.

We’ll get to spend an entire day discussing (and harvesting!) edible species of native and wild plants, their implications for food security and sustainability, and how we can work with these resources to grow a healthier relationship with our Land.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Day 2 we’ll turn to the culinary arts and explore all the amazing ways you can turn these Mange Sauvage into High Table fare! Spring is a beautiful time of year in the woods;  flowers are blooming, onions are budding and a smorgasbord of other wild foods are on offer. From learning to prepare soup and salad starters to delicious hors d’ouvres and wild entrees, we’ll share our secrets to celebrating and enjoying all the amazing flavors and foods here around us.

Come camp out with us, enjoy some excellent foods around the fire, and experience great fellowship while learning more about how we can work to craft a better way of living, together.

Tickets are $25 for adults, $10 for kids 10 years and younger (kiddos 3 and under free!), includes entire 2-day event with meals, workshops and camp sites. Tickets are available through Paypal. PLEASE RSVP with the ages and numbere of people in your party. Space is limited, so reserve your spot soon.

Note: This event is the last weekend of Spring Break 2019, so bring the kids for a last burst of fun (with a little learning snuck in) before they have to head back to school!

Hope to see you this Spring, and Happy Harvesting!

Advertisements

Gardens – New Home, New Gardens

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!

New Garden Layout

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.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

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.

 

 

Event: Kids’ Fall Foraging

I’m teaming up with the Calixto Project again to offer another Kids-focused foraging adventure! We’llexplore and gather the wild Autumn foods of the forest, then create some surprising (and delicious!) treats.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

This is a perfect outdoor activity for kids, with a little bit of learning and life experience snuck in (shhh!). The event will be held Sunday, October 21st, near Southeast Austin. You can read more about the oppurtunity at the Calixto Project, as well as find information on how to sign up!

The weather is sure to be cooler by then (or at least not lethal!) so come out and have some fun.

Upcoming Events

There are several events coming up over the next couple of months, opportunities where you can learn more about wild foods and how they can benefit our communities and also get some first-hand experience foraging and harvesting some wild foods yourself and even sampling some of the unique dishes they can be used in!

On Thursday, April 12th, I’ll be giving a lecture for the Milam county chapter of Texas Master Naturalists. This is a free event open to the public and I’ll be covering topics including foraging ethics and best practices to discussing selected, important wild species and their uses. The meeting is being held in Milano, at the Milano Methodist church located at 219 W. ave. at 6:00 pm

I will also be taking part in the Milam county Earth Day event, on Saturday, April 21st. I’ll have a booth set up with samples of wild dishes as well as hand outs about how to start foraging, where you can learn more about it, as well as how you can set up your own Wild Foods Gardens. The event is being held in Rockdale at the local community center located at 109 N. Main st.

At the end of April, on Saturday the 28th, I will also be leading a foraging class for kids at McKinney Falls state park in Austin, Texas. This event is being put on by the Calixto Project, which creates opportunities for kids to enjoy positive experiences in the Great Outdoors. We will be ranging across the beautiful landscape and then preparing some unique and delicious dishes with our finds after wards. So this excursion will be part hunter-gatherer adventure, and part cooking presentation! The Adventures begin at 11 am and will last until around 2:30 pm. For more information, and to register, check out the Event Page here.

Alongside all of these great events is the impending release of my book, which should be made available by the end of this month! I will have copies available for anyone attending the Texas Master Naturalist lecture on April 12th in Milano, so try to make it out if you’d like to grab a copy.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

I am also putting together several other events across the next several months centered around some of the biggest Wild Foods harvests of the year. Wild onions at the end of March, dewberries at the beginning of May and wild grapes at the beginning of Summer, we will talk about these, as well as other species, and everyone participating will get to go home with a bunch of free, healthy, delicious wild foods. Participation in these foraging walks is limited, to ensure everyone who comes is able to gather as much tasty foods as they wish, and so we don’t denude the resources at each site. To sign up for any of these, you can visit their event pages on Facebook, here.

I’m really excited about all these opportunities coming up. Part of that is due to getting to see the culmination of several personal endeavors. But it’s also because it’s a chance to make a difference and reach a large amount of people. Sharing this information and lifestyle with others is one of the greatest feelings that I get to experience. Not the least of which is because it allows me to help people connect with a world that I am personally and intrinsically attracted to, but also because I’m able to provide a greater sense of security and liberty which can help people to lead healthier, happier lives.

Event: Foraging Class – Texas Master Naturalists

On Thursday, April 12th at 6pm I’ll be holding a lecture on edible wild plants and foraging for the Milam county chapter of Texas Master Naturalists.

This will be held at their monthly chapter meeting, which is free and open to the public, so if you are in the area please stop by for an evening of wild edibles and camaraderie.

Monthly chapter meetings are held at the Milano methodist church, 219 W. ave. Milano, Tx 76556

Seasonal Update: Book Announcement!

It’s almost here!

 

~The Cycle of Foraging – A Book of Days~

The book I’ve been writing since the end of the Wild Foods Garden project is basically done, there’s just some last minute touches that need to happen and then some final editing, but then it’s off to the printers.

Here is a quick sneak peek inside at what it will look like:

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

There are about 50 different species covered, all arranged according to when they appear throughout the year. They are organized by month and seasons; details for each include seasonality, identification, habitat preference, propagation methods as well as uses. I’m publishing it through CreateSpace, on Amazon, so it will be available online for any kindle readers, as well as in print form.

In addition to hundreds of full color photographs, the book is also filled with dozens of original paintings and beautiful illustrations. These have been added to highlight important details of different species and to give a better picture of how the world changes from one season to another.

Foraging, for my family, truly is a cycle. We mark our calendars for when the dewberries will come into season. We celebrate the ripening of the wild grapes at every Midsummer, and spend all year waiting for the beautyberry harvest to come again. Learning about and coming to enjoy and look forward to all the different wild foods available in our environment naturally connects you to a deeper cycle of Life; a different world. The world we are all born into, but for which many have lost sight of. This book is my attempt to share that world with you. To show how our natural resources can improve our lives, improve our communities and provide a more sustainable and secure future.

Over the next month I will be posting updates on when the book will become available, but it will hopefully be before the end of March. I have several events planned for the next couple of months, and I hope to have hard copies available for anyone wanting to attend. This weekend I will be at Ave Alegre’s Feast in the Forest fundraiser and next month I will be hosting a wild foods potluck, and then gearing up for Earth Day 2018!

In between all of these events, I will doubtlessly be sharing what wild edibles are currently coming into season, and any unique and delicious recipes my family creates with them. Over the next month, we are avidly waiting for the cattail shoots to emerge. We had a fluke burst of them at the end of last year and the opportunity gave us some inspiration for when we meet them again. HINT HINT: noodles…..

To stay up to date with progress on the book or what events I have coming up, follow me on Facebook and Instagram!

Update: After the Rains…

 

This week will see our third class at The Wild Foods Garden here in Bryan, Texas! The rains we’ve been having this Spring have really helped it flourish and grow. The Garden has NO artificial irrigation, so the plants are totally dependent on ambient rainfall for life. Wild plants are extremely drought tolerant, in addition to being extremely nutritious, so there is little to worry about though.

However, now that the rains are passing, and the new moon is coming, everything is starting to dry out and ripen for Summer. All of the early Spring greens are transforming the returning sunshine into energy to ripen their swelling seeds – you can watch the warm, Northern winds blow them away on the sunny days. The wildflowers too, blooming in the humid heat after the storm, have begun going to seed.

The whirring song of the cicadas has announced that the dog days of Summer are coming. The last of the Spring harvest, immature cattail flower heads, has given us something new to look forward to every Spring though: Cattail Fritters! Warm and rich and delicious, they were an impromptu creation due to the abundance of cattail flowerings this year – we simply didn’t know what to do with them all!

Now we’ve moved on to gathering their golden pollen and looking through the forests for wild amaranth, grapes and the juicy, nectar filled blooms of the Turk’s cap mallow. Our young Turk’s cap cuttings we planted at the Garden, during our first class back in March, are just now starting to show their first leaves. You can also see the lemon bee-balm and black nightshade flowering around the Garden, and around town, now too.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

I’ve been dreaming for a while about trying to illustrate all these different changes, either as different moons or seasons, or just different points in a yearly cycle. And all the beautiful colors of the Earth have been the perfect medium to bring them to life!

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

 

From raw hematite to sparkleberry juice – using wild pigments to paint and color with has had the dual benefit of showcasing the beauty of the natural world, while also being a pleasant art form in and of itself.

I was actually able to showcase some of my traditional works as well recently at Revolutions cafe and bar, here in downtown Bryan. In addition to several of my paintings, I brought an array of different wild dishes and had a great time talking to people about Nature and the environment and what we’re doing at The Wild Foods Garden. It was actually the perfect backdrop for my paintings, because that’s the message, the inspiration that they’re really meant to convey: to inspire people to reconnect with their environment, in a meaningful and beneficial way.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

And so it’s to that end, that I’ve decided to make a commitment with my artwork: I’ve decided to start donating a flat percentage of every piece or reproduction I sell to the Brazos Valley chapter of the Texas Master Naturalists and the work that we’re doing together at The Wild Foods Garden to try and bring people and Nature closer together. Because the true message in my artwork is the opportunity for community, and at its core, community is what The Wild Foods Garden is all about; showing people how they can have a positive impact in their environment, and how it can have a positive impact in their lives as well.