Forager aims to live only on wild food for a year

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Modern day hunter-gatherer Fergus Drennan is on a wild man’s mission: to survive for a whole year solely on foraged food

Foraging expert Fergus Drennan is set to explore the potentials and pitfalls of a 100% wild food diet from May 2013, by eating nothing but foraged foods for an entire year.

At a time of increasing concern over food security and reliance on a handful of staple food crops, wild foods offer a low impact sustainable harvest, according to Drennan, who has been researching foraging and wild food for 22 years.

“Foraging has become my vocation,” he said. “I want to offer as a gift my determination to fully explore the potential of wild food plants as a vital component of the modern diet.”

The Wild Food Challenge will see Drennan adopt a different theme every month for the year, which kicks off on 1 May 2013. For example, July will be raw and vegan; October will explore foraging exclusively within 25 miles and less from Drennan’s Canterbury home; and April’s challenge will be a total immersion in the Stone Age.

For one week every month and several weekends throughout the year, he is also inviting other people to join him on the challenge and document their experiences.

“I want to fully explore the potential of wild food plants as a vital component of the modern diet”

“By imposing a 100% foraged diet on myself I am forced to fully explore every possible dimension to the sustainable use of wild foods, drawing on my years of experience working with wild plants,” said Drennan, who is using online crowdfunding to attempt to raise £12,000 to cover his living, travel and research costs while he dedicates his time to the Wild Food Challenge.

“I’m prepared to dedicate all my energy to document the full potential that can be unlocked and discovered from the diet, lived intensely through every season in a range of different habitats.”

While he says he’s not advocating that everyone eats a 100% wild food diet all the time, Drennan believes that with just a little investigation, anybody can get to know and use some of the more common so-called weeds in a nearby garden or alleyway.

“Such common plants as dandelion, fat hen and nettles abound, are delicious and often more tasty and nutritious than industrially grown and internationally freighted crops,” he said.

“You are what you eat, and you eat what you are. I want to eat love and consideration, not violence and desecration; I want to eat deep connection and vitality, not separation and stagnation. I think we can all achieve this.”

Photo title: Fergus Drennan foraging for edible fungi

Photo credit: © Fergus Drennan

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  • Daniel Rose

    I wish him good luck. I hope he know the poison from the non poison, that is tricky. Does he plan to save / can / ferment any things for when the weather and growing is not so good? I hae been wondering if one took a toxic plant and fermented it properly, would it still be toxic?

  • Rob Hull

    Interestingly, I’ve just met someone who is experimenting with fermenting certain toxic mushrooms and has found that some of them are not toxic when fermented!

  • Sunni Soleil

    What a wonderful idea… This guy is dedicating himself to an experiment that can help many many people survive. We all need to know how to forage… Having lived in the Deep South of the USA, I learned a little about wild foraging. What little I did know led me to find chickweed and lambs quarters [wild spinach] which somehow I’d brought into our yard and which proliferated. I went through our neighbors pastures finding all kinds of things, like wild pepper and wild onions were everywhere… There must be so much more that I don’t know about. that’s why I’m going on a wild foraging walk in Brighton tomorrow with Chris Phyto. There are plenty of other people doing foraging walks and we should all find a way to join one to know what is around our area and help others as well as ourselves to discover free food. Brits have been foraging blackberries in hedgerows for eons!!!

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