Wildcrafting (also known as foraging) is an age old practice of collecting plant materials in their natural habitat for food, medicine, and craft. It encompasses studying plants and habitats, sustainably harvesting and helping wild plants flourish. Wildcrafting is a skill that nurtures mind body and spirit. For those with an appreciation for nature, it can be a deeply rewarding craft.
One of the greatest benefits of eating wild food is that it reminds us that we are not fed by the supermarket but by the sunshine, rain, and soil.” ~ Samuel Thayer, Forager’s Harvest.
What follows is a carefully curated a collection of gift ideas that are designed to encourage, inspire, delight or support the aspiring wildcrafter. There are suggestions for gifts that you can make, gifts that you can search for at flea markets and antique shops and gifts that you can purchase.
Before we jump in, I must mention that a local field guide of wild edible plants is the most beneficial and essential item you can give to an aspiring wildcrafter. If I were forced to choose only only one thing to keep from my wildcrafting bag, it would be my field guide. Second to that, I always suggest if you can find an experienced person to take your wildcrafter on a forest walk, that’s the sort of gift experience that lasts a lifetime.
If you are crafty and love giving DIY gifts, this list is for you. If you sew, crochet or knit, you could give the wild crafter in your life a hand made foraging bag. Here’s a video that shows you how to make a nice buckskin foraging bag. If you bake, mix up a batch of herbal hot chocolate or some herbal holiday cookies . Here are some other DIY ideas that you might have fun with.
- Wildcrafted handmade wreath (make it here)
- Pine resin salve from the Herbal Academy (make it here)
- Rosehip & juniper berry syrup from Walkerland (make it here)
- Conifer infused vodka from Grow Forage Cook Ferment (make it here)
- Wild Spruce or Pine infused sugar or salt from Gather Victoria (make it here)
Books are always a great gift idea and when it comes to wildcrafting the best book you can give is a local field guide for your region. They are often titled: Edible Wild Plants of “fill in your location”. There are also some good general guide books such as: Edible Wild Plants: A North American Field Guide (US)(Canada).
- The Wild Wisdom of Weeds – 13 Essential Plants for Human Survival(US)(Canada)
- Foraging & Feasting: A Field Guide and Wild Food Cookbook (US)(Canada)
- Ugly Little Greens: Gourmet Dishes Crafted From Foraged Ingredients (US)(Canada)
- Great Wild Crafting Recipe Book: The Wildcrafting Brewer – (US) (Canada)
Tools & Supplies
- A foraging bag Waxed Canvas Foraging Pouch – (US) (Canada)
- Foraging scissors (US) (Canada)
- Hori Hori Knife (US) (Canada)
- Professional Round Triplet Jeweler’s Loupe (US)(Canada)
- Pocket Knife (US)(Canada)
Of course, the gift of education is a gift that last forever and the herbal academy has up to 25% off on their on-line courses for the 2018 holiday season. They also have a Free Herbal Materia Medica Course.
- On-line Botany & Wildcrafting course from the Herbal Academy
With some forethought and planning you might find some of the pricier key items on your gift giving list gently used. You can often find one of a kind baskets, leather gathering bags and other truly useful (and lovely) gift ideas for the forager in your life at flea markets, thrift stores, on-line buy, sell, trade sites, craft shows and even antique and vintage stores. Old or unique tins and jars are also lovely and highly useful gifts.
Whatever you choose, you can’t go wrong with a gift that shows you’ve been paying attention to and support someone’s passion to learn and grow.