By Jacob Mathias
Stevens Point residents can learn how to live off the land this Saturday.
The Central Rivers Farmshed, a local sustainable food non-profit organization, is hosting a foraging workshop on September 5 where participants can learn how to gather food from the land that surrounds them. The workshop, hosted by local forager Andy Lickel, runs from 3:00 to 5:00 PM and will begin with a 30 minute lecture on foraging following by questions and finally a foraging session at a local park.
“It will be some of the basics about why we want to forage and then how to start thinking about foraging,” said Lickel.
The workshop costs $15 for non Farmshed members and $12 for members.
He said he started foraging because as a child his family were frequent foragers, using the gathered food to supplement what they already had. Lickel lives on a small farm that provides food for his family and he likes to continue with the family tradition.
“I’ve always been interested in living off the land,” he said. “I just really enjoy feeling provided for by nature and knowing that I’m dependent on something outside of me for our food. All of us are really are dependent on nature for our food but foraging helps you realize that and appreciate it to a greater extent than what we usually are accustomed too.”
Lickel said his family tries to have one meal of completely foraged food at least once a month.
“[In] winter that gets a little bit hard,” he said.
Spring is the easiest season for foraging meal according to Lickel who said that it’s easy to procure enough roots, green and berries to throw together a meal. Some of his favorite foods do come up at the end of summer, especially mushrooms.
“I’m just a total mushroom geek,” he said.
He’s also excited for autumn olives and mayapple fruit, some his late season foraging favorites.
A large deterrent to foraging is people’s concern over poisonous plants and mushrooms but Lickel said only three of the 5,000 mushroom species that grow in Wisconsin are poisonous and with a good plant guide, there should be no worries about getting sick.
“People are rightly so worried about eating something poisonous,” he said. “You should worry about that because it’s possible but I think we exaggerate that fear too much. It’d actually be pretty hard to go out and eat something and get sick from it.”
When not foraging, Lickel is employed by the UW system and directs student organizations on the various UW campuses.
To register for the foraging workshop, click here.