Budget Cut Benefits

Two effects of the economic times are influencing foraging. First is an increase in the number of people who are putting food on the table by foraging. The other is an increase in edible weeds.

One result of tight budgets is that various agencies don’t have the money to pay for weed control. Wild edibles that were often kept at bay by regular mowing or spraying are now flourishing. Along the bike trail I have been using since it opened I’ve seen more edible than ever before. It is an interesting example of how less is more, as well as a 13,000-year-old lesson.

There was a time when no resources were spent controlling nature and nature provided ample food for man to survive. Then came agriculture, then cities and eventually a population that cannot survive without big agriculture. A century ago when most folks not only stopped foraging but started moving off the farm they planted non-edible plants about their homes and cities. They even allocated money to keep nature in check, as if nature was a green enemy. We went from being part of nature to opposing it. Nature went from being a provider to being a pain. We turned on something that has sustained humanity for eons. And more to the point, it was and is perhaps a pointless expenditure. Nature has far more resources than man and doesn’t need a bank account to get something done

The bike paths are just accessible now as they were last year. But less plants are being mowed or sprayed. Nature is responding and coming back with wild edibles: Ground cherries, peppergrass, blackberries, milkweed, yams, maypop, grain grasses.  We stop spending money battling nature and nature provides more food, for free, and I can still ride the bike path.  That strikes me as a win win win and a lesson not to be forgotten when the economy recovers.

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