The Canadians are definitely ahead of the game on publicly bringing in the ‘goods from the woods’. As leaders in this movement for the North American continent, our neighbors to the north have private businesses, educational institutions, and government monies dedicated to promoting and supporting the harvest and distribution of wild foods. Click here, to read a recent CBC article on the increased interest in wild foods.
Alisa Smith and James MacKinnon popularized local eating in Canada with their 100-Mile Diet. Canadians have started to gain deeper connections with their foodsheds, and are starting to nourish their curiosity of ALL available foods growing in the areas in which they live. The Centre for Non-Timber Resources at Royal Roads University in British Columbia has a cool website called BuyBCWild. They organize and are host for the 3rd annual Shop the Wild Festival. This festival celebrates all things wild that are available from BC forests, along with educating folks about the benefits of buying local and going green.
I have always felt that creating cooperatives of people harvesting wild foods is the route we must take to make wild foods available to the populous. We should all, especially children, learn about wild foods to ensure our own health and ability to survive. Good, healthy food is our birthright and it’s all sitting free right out our own doorsteps…but we still need people to focus on creating beautiful music, amazing art, innovative designs, building homes, etc. For those who enjoy spending large amounts of time in the great outdoors, becoming a full-time wild food forager, I think, will become an economically viable profession of the future. Creating job opportunities in our rural communities is an essential function of these cooperatives. So, chalk it up to the Canadians to get things rolling in this direction. Forbes Wild Foods is a wonderful company located in Ontario who supplies wild foods to individual consumers, as well as restaurants/hotels/health food stores/etc. They purchase their wild foods from remote rural communities of Aboriginal Canadians who respect their lands, and who also regenerate and plant the forests they are harvesting from.
Way to go Canada!