Earlier this summer I went to the Mother Earth News Fair in Oregon. I hesitantly out myself here by admitting that I was über-excited about attending this back-to-the-land homesteader event (for the second year in a row). I spent many evenings reviewing the fair program over and over again negotiating with my husband which of us would attend which session to make the most of it.
It turns out that we’ve been geeking out pretty bad on this stuff over the last few years … many of the sessions we went to, while inspiring, covered things we were already familiar with. I loved it nonetheless and walked away with a boosted sense of self-confidence about calling myself a homesteader.
My favorite session was one given by John Kallas who was promoting his excellent book “Edible Wild Plants: Wild Foods from Dirt to Plate”, which I highly recommend to anyone getting into wild foods. He struck me as really smart, arguably so with a PhD., and very practical. His advice is so sensible, yet so counter cultural. Consider the dandelion. It is nutritious, abundant, easy to identify, and with its deep tap root serves as a excellent soil de-compactor. Yet, we go to great lengths to get rid of it, invest time and money on lawn aeration, and spend top dollar on dandelion greens at Whole Foods.
This makes me step back and consider how often I’m putting too much energy into doing something when what I need is right in front of me. Looking beyond the value of foraging for food, one place I know I do it too often is with my 6-year old daughter. I find myself telling her “not now” when I’m strung out, pushing to get the to-do’s done, honestly, just really needing a hug. Ironically, she usually just wants to give me a hug. Actually, a lot of the time, she wants me to go outside with her and pick dandelions!
What are you overlooking that is right in front of you?