Foraging as a Way to Feel Connected

Foraging as a Way to Feel Connected

I’m sitting listening to Radio 4 (again) and the episode of the Digital Human called ‘Tribe’. This particular episode includes a focus on the role of hunting and gathering as a way of working together and supporting each other. Indeed, our ancestors worked closely to ensure that food, shelter and sustenance was provided for their community.

Alas, our reliance on each other has lessened a lot since then, yet somehow there has been a continuing interest in foraging over the last few decades. I’ve often pondered about our modern day fascination with foraging, despite no actually need for us to go into the forest or onto the shoreline to find food. It’s all just passively sitting on the supermarket shelves waiting for us.

Over the years I’ve developed various theories on the role and importance of foraging for us digital humans, and I could sum it up in one sentence;

We need to feel connected

Perhaps we’re still trying to re-learn how to reconnect to each other, though how to connect to the land and the source of our food is a good, and maybe simpler, starting point. In actual fact, I think these are all areas we’re still continuing to develop and remember; how to find genuine, meaningful and sustainable ways to connect.

bivalve molluscs

Connecting to people and nature

For me, being human means feeling connected to the place I’m from; planet earth and connected to different elements of this. To people, plants, food, water and shelter – I love returning home after a day in the elements, and plonking on my sofa. As well as having a sense of adventure, purpose, creativity and the spirit of joy.

We know that food brings people together, but foraging also includes a deeper, more instinctual sense of connection. A connection to the land, the seasons, to an adventure and sense of real achievement that perhaps is lacking in our digital reality.

I found, picked and ate my own food in the wild!

Porphyra species


Simple and Good

Foraging is such a simple thing to do, yet, I believe, it sets off a series of feel-good hormones and brain connections that we share with our vital, hand-to-mouth, alive and kicking ancestors.

It helps us feel alive

When I forage, I am connecting to the sun, to the rain, wind, soil and to the turning of the earth. I am connecting to living plants fed by all these elements. A plant that has grown up in relationship to other plants (weeds), insects and wildlife. That I’ve hand-picked, which connects me to my whole experience and kinesthetic memory of being out. As well as to the energy and vitality my wild food is about to provide me as food.

Foraging helps foster a nurturing bond between people and plants, between people and people, between people and the natural world. A bond that has too often, and painfully been replaced by technology. I say painfully, for when we turn away from our home, our roots and a natural sense of belonging (to each other and to the planet that we live on), it is a loss. A loss that I believe we, either consciously or unconsciously, crave.

Crithmum maritimum

That is why I think we jump at the chance to forage, get excited about the ridiculous and un-necessary act of foraging; finding, collecting and eating our own food. Foraging fills a gap, a real gap in our experience that digital technology (for all its gifts) cannot replace. Foraging can connect us to what it means to feel and be alive, what it means to be truly human, and this is humbly worth celebrating.

I run foraging courses throughout the year to bring together people, plants and nature. I also offer bespoke experiences, where you can choose the people, place and time that we come together to forage.

This blog is based on the personal and subjective views of me, Rachel Lambert. I am not claiming that my views or beliefs are facts, or gospel or scientifically backed up (except in the places where I have said so). My opinions are based on personal experience, musings and hypothesis about foraging in the 21st century.

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