Skip to main content

Foraging for Beginners

Two people in the forest, foraging mushrooms


For 95 percent of the time humans have been on Earth, we’ve been foragers. This longstanding practice connects us all, spanning cultures and continents. 

Foraging is finding and sourcing edible wild plants in nature, including fruit, flowers, mushrooms, leaves, and nuts. It’s an excellent way to connect to nature and build new skills. With a longstanding history, foraging can provide nutrition in food deserts, be a form of meditation, or lead to a fun day exploring with family and friends! 

There’s nothing quite like getting food directly from nature, but knowing how to forage safely and sustainably is essential. Let’s explore the basics:

Start small

Foraging is a great way to become more familiar with nature in your community. Heading into a dense forest to collect baskets of finds isn’t the only way to participate. Check out parks, yards, and natural public spots in your area, and expect that it’ll take some practice!

Learn from others

Reading skill books and browsing online tools are perfect ways to dive into the world of foraging, but hands-on guidance from a professional can prevent toxic plants from being mistakenly eaten. Tag along in a local foraging group and learn from an experienced guide!

Arrive prepared

Check the weather forecast, ensure permission to forage on the land, and bring plenty of water. Before you go, study the local plants and fungi and the most minimally damaging ways to harvest them.

Leave no trace

Leave wild spaces better than you found them! Travel in small groups on established trails and take your trash and any litter you find along the way. Plus, one of the keys to sustainably foraging is avoiding overharvesting. 

Target invasive species

While some species are protected and should always be avoided, consider targeting invasive species to help your native flora thrive. 

On your foraging journey, remember to respect nature while having fun! This practice is one of the best ways to connect to those who’ve come before us. Take care of the land so foraging can be enjoyed for future generations. Happy foraging!  

*Any person who puts themselves in contact with or ingests wild plants or mushrooms for any reason, does so at their own risk. If you have doubts, please consult an expert.

Did you learn something new? Please take a moment to answer this short survey.

Stay in touch with the Sustain Newsletter
Filer image