Armstrong woman pens book on how to forage for food in the forest

Living off the land

There is not much Mikaela Cannon enjoys more than being in nature.

And while she's venturing into the backcountry, she will grab a few things for the dinner table.

The Armstrong woman recently published a book on finding food in the BC forests, of which she says there is an abundance.

Foraging as a Way of Life is a guide to all that is edible in the forest as well as ways to harvest those edibles without causing harm to Mother Nature.

Drawing on her own lived experiences, Foraging as a Way of Life is designed to inspire readers to share the abundance of wild foods while finding nourishment and connection in local fields and forests.

“I teach foraging for wild plants you can use for food and medicine,” Cannon said. “I am not a trained doctor or herbalist, so I teach from a perspective of what I do and what I have used over the years and what I feed my family.”

Cannon will take people for hikes in the nearby mountains to show them the bounty that is available.

“I forage year round, so everyday of the year is a good day for foraging,” she said.

Cannon said she is “in nature all the time” and has taken a wilderness guide course and she “lived in a tee-pee for two years and I loved being outside 24/7. It's the most wonderful feeling.”

Cannon said spring is an exciting time of year for a forager because the forest is starting to come alive with new growth.

“It is beyond exciting,” she said. “As we get into May and June, it is almost overwhelming there is so much out there to eat.”

Cannon said there are also numerous weeds that are actually edible and can be found in an urban setting.

“The most abundant thing at this time of year is stinging nettle,” Cannon said. “One thing I really want to stress is you never harvest more than the land handle. You never want to take more than the plant can rejuvenate.”

She said the key is to harvest in such a way that the plant itself is not damaged and will continue to grow, providing sustenance for people and woodland creatures alike.

She also cautions that people must know what to look for when foraging as not all plants are edible for humans.

“You always want to make sure you have 100 per cent identified everything. If in doubt, leave it out,” she said.

Cannon's book is available through her website and at local book stores as well as the Vernon library.

She also has a blog full of recipes on how to cook up what the forest has to offer.

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