I am a foraging tutor with Live Wild, a not-for-profit organisation based in West Yorkshire. I teach regular seasonal foraging courses in the magical woodlands around Hebden Bridge with my colleague, Leonie Morris. More recently we have also started running courses in Northumberland.
What does foraging mean to me?
In its broadest sense, it's the incredible and empowering realisation that so many of the things we need to survive and thrive can be found in the wild world around us: nourishing food, potent medicine, materials for tools, shelter, crafts and fire. Intangible things, too, like a sense of belonging, community, wonder and connection. Foraging is all of these things, and this broad definition is what we hope to share with people on our courses.
How did I get to this point?
Sometimes I have to pinch myself, because I'm so delighted to be doing what I love for a living! It all began many years ago with a fungi fascination. I was very much a 'folk forager' at first, teaching myself, heading out on adventures with basket, books and magnifying glass to meet new plants and fungi. I then spent years learning from other foragers who I greatly admire, soaking up as much wisdom as possible and topping up my professional learning on courses with bodies like the Field Studies Council. My life as a fully fledged foraging tutor began in 2018, and my learning will undoubtedly go on for as long as I can potter about with a basket! I see myself as part of the wild community around me and approach foraging with reverence, curiosity and reciprocity in my heart.
A lot of my year is spent in an off-grid cabin in one of Northumberland's last ancient woodlands, where I help to regeneratively manage what is a precious & magical habitat.