The Permaculture Podcast

    Episode 1345: Foraging with Sam Thayer


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    My guest for this episode is Sam Thayer, the expert forager and author. You can find his personal experience working with wild foods in his books, The Forager’s Harvest and Nature’s Garden.

    During this conversation we talk about how Sam came to be regarded as an expert on foraging. Where you can find more information on foraging, including live events to attend in the United States and high quality reference materials. Take some time to answer listener questions. And talk about mimicking natural systems to create productive environments that replicate the services of nature, while better meeting human needs.

    Sam Thayer
    The Forager’s Harvest
    Nature’s Garden

    Edible Wild Plants: Wild Foods from Dirt to Plate

    Wildfood Weekend

    North Carolina Wildfood Weekend
    Wildfood Summit
    The Midwest Wild Harvest Festival


    1 Ping/Trackback

    1. RLM McWilliamsRLM McWilliams
      February 8, 2014    

      On lead along roadsides – aside from the accumulation from years of emmissions from leaded gasoline before it was banned, lead weights are still used to balance tires, and can continue the accumulation of lead levels high enough in roadside soils to be of concern.

      There are other residues found in the soil and plants along highways of concern, some even more than lead; cadmium is one of those.

      In addition to the abundance of plants and trees, lakes, streams, rivers and bays used to produce an incredible amount of high quality food. Pollution has destroyed so many of these habitats, resulting in scarce numbers or even the disappearance of many desirable food species in these waters. Those that remain are often too polluted to contribute significantly to our diets; some are too polluted to eat ever.

    2. RLM McWilliamsRLM McWilliams
      February 8, 2014    

      Petro-chemical companies have done a fabulous job of convincing us that using their products is ‘easy’ and no big deal. The health consequences, for humans and for the planet, are just beginning to be seen.

      Scott – a great topic idea: sane alternatives to spraying or spreading toxic ‘gick’ (to use Paul Wheaton’s term). While we know of some of these, we are always eager to learn more.

      On cover crops: close grazing is a great way to prepare for no-till planting of many crops directly into many types of cover crops (which ideally are composed of multiple species). Mowing, the industrial version of ‘chop and drop’ is another herbicide-free method. Rollers are also used to break the vegetation and put it into contact with the soil, where it will act like a mulch and break down releasing nutrients (if the soil is ‘dead’ this will take longer). These are all easier and cheaper than spraying herbicides to kill one crop before planting the next. (What is it about our culture that wants to destroy everything except what we are focused on?)

      Toxic herbicides are now also being sold to farmers as ‘harvest aids’. Yes, this can leave toxic residues on the grains and the straw; some have warnings about not using the straw to feed or bed livestock (yes, not just hay but straw is used for livestock fodder, and can be useful to them in a number of situations, such as balancing the high-protein low fiber content of grasses in the ‘spring flush’ of first growth). Sigh.

    3. RLM McWilliamsRLM McWilliams
      February 8, 2014    

      Germany has a commercially available food product make from acorns: ‘NewTella’. Similar to Nutella, the famous spreadable creme made from hazelnuts, owner Peter Becker says it has several advangages, such as being made from local ingredients (in his area), contains less sugar than Nutella, and the only fats in NewTella are those that naturally occur in the acorn.

      Not certain what the policy is on posting URLs here, but his website can be found at:

      Pretty cool, eh?

    4. RLM McWilliamsRLM McWilliams
      February 8, 2014    

      Sam Thayer brings up an important point about living in ‘modern’ society: ‘We’ have NOT chosen to live in a polluted world – drinking it, eating it, breathing it, bathing in it, absorbing it through our very pores. Those of us alive today were never allowed the choice; it was made for us decades ago.

      Even those who choose to use toxic substances that create direct human exposure (including herbicides, pesticides, and so many commercial products like cosmetics, shampoo… essentially ALL of the personal care products sold in supermarkets, paints, nearly all cleaning products including dish detergent and laundry detergent, plastics… ) almost never know how TOXIC these products are.

      And those who have an idea that these commercial products contain toxins – and the the manufacture, use, and disposal of these ubiquitous products is damaging to their health and/or the environment – are usually unaware that they have a choice. They rarely realize that there are safe and PRACTICAL alternatives.

      (Or they don’t know how to use them. One example is the use of vinegar to clean windows; if commercial window cleaner was previously used, it takes about three cleanings with vinegar to get streak-free results. Removing the droplets also helps. But hey, even if the windows are streaked, I’ll choose vinegar every time!)

      The more I learn, the more I learn that there are natural substitutes for every single synthetic and/or petro-based toxic product out there. Substitutes and techniques that can nearly all be produced/used sustainably, even regeneratively.

      Inspiring! And, for me, also humbling, Like the rest of us, I am also embedded in a culture and economy I did not choose and did not create. But, step by step, I am making choices to move as far as I can from supporting the ‘culture of destruction’.

      Toxins are now found everywhere on the planet. Time, the biosphere, and techniques like mychoremediation will help. But are no excuse for continuing the ‘status quo’.

    5. […] on par with the late great Euell Gibbons. If you want to hear a podcast featuring Samuel Thayer, The Permaculture Podcast has a great […]

    1. REVIEW: Nature’s Garden – A Guide to Identifying, Harvesting, and Preparing Edible Wild Plants – The Walking Herbalist on April 5, 2016 at 23:05

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