Growing a Foraging Community on Steemit -- Step 1: SteemTrail CurationsteemCreated with Sketch.

in foraging •  3 years ago  (edited)

Are you interested in foraging for wild foods and crafts? Weeds, wild plants, and the land around us – in our yards, parks, and wilderness – have so much to offer, if we just get to know them!

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Ponderosa Pine pollen cone harvest

I believe that we can all have lives that are richer, more secure, more grounded, and more interesting by getting to know the plants and the land around us – in our yards, our parks, and our wilderness. I know this is true in my own life. It’s one reason I have so many videos on how to forage and use wild plants on my YouTube channel (Haphazard Homestead).

When I was on the outside of Steemit, looking in, I saw some great posts and enthusiastic discussion about using wild plants and gardening. It’s what convinced me to join Steemit. And when I finally signed up and made some of my first posts, I got a warm welcome from fellow foragers who have continued to be supportive. (Thanks, @papa-pepper, @quinneaker, @englishtchrivy, and others!)

There are some stellar foragers here on Steemit! And I’ve read so many comments from people interested in foraging, too, even though they may not be active foragers or wildcrafters – yet! But with the way Steemit feeds are organized right now, it’s hard for all of us foraging fans to connect.

So I jumped at the chance to volunteer for SteemTrail and help focus a community around the Foraging tag.


SteemTrail

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SteemTrail is a really exciting initiative aimed at increasing retention on Steemit. Folks new to Steemit can feel overwhelmed and not know how to engage. Sure, they can search for a specific topic using tags, but tags are often not used effectively, for posting or searching. Now think about the success of Facebook groups, Google+ communities, and Reddit forums. We don’t have anything like that on Steemit - yet.

Here are three posts that lay out the vision for SteemTrail and how it works: introduction, categories, update. If we are successful, people will join Steemit to be part of specific communities – like Foraging - because they are so active, engaging, and supportive. And communities will provide more structure for getting new people connected easily, without drifting away in confusion or frustration.

With SteemTrail, you are more likely to get rewarded for posts you make with the Foraging tag. How? The SteemTrail initiative is currently dedicating funds for curated posts, including those with the Foraging tag.

Eventually, through Streemian.com, you or anyone else will be able to automatically upvote the Foraging posts that are highlighted by curation. This will pool the unused voting power that most of us are leaving on the table right now, especially new users or any of us that aren’t on Steemit every hour without a bot working in the background.


A Vision for the Steemit Foraging Community

Steemit is such a great platform and people are so supportive that I think it’s an ideal home for the best foraging community on the Internet! I have spent a few days crawling through Steemit looking for posts related to foraging, no matter what tag they were using. It’s been interesting and I’ll be bringing some of that “deep dive” into future posts.

I think it will be helpful to have a bit of vision for the Foraging community. I fully expect it will evolve as things develop, but this is somewhere to start.

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Hedgehog mushrooms make a delicious gravy that goes great with roasted squirrel

Community Goals

  1. Be a supportive, engaged community focused on foraging for food and crafts
  2. Share learning through direct experience and authentic discussion
  3. Emphasize correct information and identification
  4. Have fun

Curation Priorities

Here are my priorities for what I will submit to the Curation Trail. These priorities are what I think will help us become one of the premier foraging communities on the Internet. I expect my priorities will change as our foraging community grows here on Steemit, but for now, here they are:

1. Blog posts about authentic, direct experience with foraging – at any skill level

In foraging, having correct information is essential, so you may want to reference other material (be sure to provide the source for it, too). But building a post only out of the facts from other material isn’t enough -- it’s your experience and your perspective that will make the Steemit Foraging community unique and powerful.

Even if you have never picked, eaten, or crafted with something living in the wild, that’s OK. I, for one, would like to read about your first try at finding and identifying a plant that is good to eat or use in crafts. On the other hand, if you have found and eaten 30 different kinds of wild mushrooms and want to write about one that required looking at the microscopic details of the spores, hey, I would eat that up (figuratively speaking).

2. Thoughtful blog posts about different aspects of foraging

There are so many topics about foraging: motivations, fears, triumphs, family traditions, strategies and tactics, field trips and forays, regulations, best practices, reviews, and so much more!

3. Help each other

I will be upvoting comments that answer someone’s question well. That includes correcting misinformation or misidentification (in a friendly way). There is more to learn about foraging than any one person can learn in any one lifetime, so there’s no embarrassment in asking questions or correcting errors. In a supportive community, that’s what makes the learning fast and rewarding.

4. Use English and scientific names - preferred

This depends on the content of the specific post. There are so many local names for different plants, mushrooms, and animals. They are great to know and reflect so much traditional knowledge. But scientific names work for any language and culture. And they can be important for correctly identifying the right plant! Adding them in the comments to a post would be a nice way to contribute to building community knowledge!

Not everyone uses English and Operation Translation is a great effort to support Steemit in other languages. But until there are other curators that know other languages, English is all I’ve got going on! Not proud of it, just being realistic. If someone wants to curate posts in a different language – great!

5. Clear, original photos - preferred

In foraging, the consequences of incorrectly identifying a plant or mushroom can cause real problems. The best photos are in focus, have good lighting, and show key features that allow correct and confident identification.

Sometimes images from elsewhere might be useful – to point out key features, or to compare features to your photos. Be sure to provide the source for those images and make it easy for curators to verify you have the rights to use them. But I’m not a fan of posts that are just collections of images from other places.

6. Meet basic SteemTrail posting standards

Make it easy to verify that you own the content or have rights for the pictures you use.

Provide appropriate, verifiable references and credits to external sources of text, pictures, videos, etc. SteemTrail curators won’t upvote until sources are cited, but can help you add that information.

Only use relevant tags. Foraging is the tag I'll be looking for!

What About Medical and Psychotropic Use?

Right now, my own curation focus will be on foraging for food and crafts. My own preference is that medical and psychotropic aspects of foraging are better handled under other tags, like Health. There are definitely some interesting intersections between the two and the boundary between them is not always clear. As a start, periodic lists of foraging-related posts in the Health community, for example, would be nice to see. This is definitely an area where having other curators involved will be helpful!

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The boundary between using wild harvests for food or medicine is more like a continuum than a bright line. Using elder flowers is just one example. It's worth discussing in future posts. Let me know what you think!


What's Next?

I'm looking forward to seeing a Foraging community emerge and grow here on Steemit! I'll be making more posts about foraging here on Steemit. SteemTrail will start producing statistics about how our community is growing and supporting each other, too. I encourage you to

  1. Start writing about foraging topics and post them with the Foraging tag.
  2. Volunteer with SteemTrail to help curate posts about Foraging. If you want to help, please send me a direct message in steemit.chat.
  3. Support people that make posts with the Foraging tag, by upvoting, commenting, or both.
  4. Resteem this post to spread the word - and tell your friends that are interested in foraging that Steemit is the place to be!
  5. Maximize your voting power, even if it’s small, by following the Foraging Trail on Streemit.com. Right now, you can do that by following my trail over there, but I’m also curating for the Gardening tag and sometimes will branch out into photography and outdoor skills, too. Eventually, there will be a dedicated Foraging tag managed by all the foraging curators.
  6. Stay tuned for updates. If you follow me @haphazard-hstead, you’ll see them.

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Wild plants can be real food for regular people - like these flowers from the Redbud tree.


What’s your vision for a Foraging channel on Steemit?

Let me know in the comments!

Thanks for your support - and happy foraging!

Species list

  • Ponderosa pine Pinus ponderosa
  • Terra Cotta Hedgehog mushroom Hydenum rufescens
  • American Elder Sambucus nigra spp. canadensis
  • Redbud Cercis canadensis

*** Haphazard Homestead ***

*** foraging, gardening, nature, simple living close to the land ***

As always, all photos are my own, unless I make a special note otherwise.

I participate in Operation Translation. All my posts are available for translation under the rules listed on the linked post from @papa-pepper. Logo provided by @oepc85.

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Hi!!!! So thrilled to read this post and your vision for building a foragers community!!!

I've only just joined steemit and made my own introduction post. I'd like to ask you to follow me. I'm in Brazil doing a PhD about the wild food scene here and I'm thinking about blogging about my research. it would be cool if like-minded people got to read my pieces and learn about the wild food scenes in other countries.

I'm really interested in the different reasons that people have for foraging and the importance that it holds in people's lives. Coming from a conservation background there's historically been a bit of an obsession in that community with making nature pay and trying to motivate people to collect wild foods for monetary gain (through the idea that they won't chop down the forest as it pays more to harvest regularly). But the reality is often so much more rich, often money is the last thing on people's minds!

I'll definitely be using the "forager" tag too for any posts I do now that I know it exists!

Peace out! X

I'm so glad you found the @foraging-trail! It will be great to get your perspectives on foraging topics, for sure! I've got 8 reasons that I like foraging. I did wildcrafting for a bit and can say that I am not interested in harvesting for the markets, for cash money. That would be an interesting topic for every forager to think about. I'll write a post on my reasons within the next week or so. Happy foraging!

Great! I'll look forward to reading that post! So, actually I'm a bit confused, what is the best tag for foraging? Is it #foraging or #foraging-trail?

I say just use the foraging tag. I search that one. Maybe someday the foraging-trail will be important, but I don't know. It seems like there's always a need for more tags, like for a specific plant or location.

Okay - thanks for the advice! I'm still kinda new to the whole tag thing.

You're welcome. Steemit can be a complicated place - like an evolving ecosystem, with rules and traditions that have to be discovered. :D

glad I found this post! Im looking forward to learning...

Thanks! There are a lot of good foragers here on Steemit! If you write any foraging posts yourself, let me know, so I don't miss them. It's great when we share our experience and perspectives!

Nice! Looking forward to these posts. I was just thinking about doing some research on this topic, and was happy to discover you're trying to promote the topic on Steemit.

Thanks for that feedback! I've been surprised at how many foraging posts and comments I've seen scattered throughout Steemit.

I think it's very good of you to clearly explain SteemTrail and how you're playing a role in it. You've inspired me to do the same in a future post and follow your example. I love how this is taking shape and look forward to seeing what you post and am glad we're working on tags of similar interest on SteemTrail. Steem on!

Thanks! I'm glad you thought this was clear. I'll be doing one for Gardening, too. I'm glad we have a Gardening curation team, and I'm glad you are on it, @luzcypher! There are many more posts for Gardening than Foraging.

@haphazard-hstead Thank you for the mention !
Upped!
So, will have to tag post with foraging than gardening now or gardening would do as well or only posts with foraging tags would be Steemtrailed?
Anyway, most of all I'm just glad to see you back in action!

Cheers!

You're welcome! The Foraging trail will focus on posts dealing with wild things, the separate Gardening trail is for domestic things. But there is cross-over, for sure! For a post on eating garden weeds, both tags would be good. There's an infrastructure developing for curators to let each other know about cross-over posts like that. Then each group can do periodic cross-community post listings. I hope that's not too confusing! I'll get my Gardening curation post up today -- I've been away from the Internet for a couple days.

Nice post and great participation!

Thanks as well for joining in on Operation Translation.

I can't wait for those Redbuds to bloom again, what a tasty ans beautiful treat!

I'll do a post about them this spring, as soon as the blossom again!

Thanks, @papa-pepper! You are in Redbud country now, down in Arkansas. I recommend them as a good choice for people just getting started in eating wild plants. They are pretty, unmistakable, widespread, easy to spot, in the same spot every year, easy to use, and tasty!

Yeah, we did not meet the redbud but until this year but I am so glad we did.

I'm glad you did, too. They are a great plant. I eat the flowers, the young leaves, and the young seedpods. The season can be real short, especially for the leaves and seedpods, but that's the way of so many wild edible plants.

Yeah, I've only enjoyed the flowers so far, but I heard about the rest.

You guys are too awesome... I'm stopping in next time I head out west!

I'm an advocate of making the most out of the plants that you know. I think you have the same bent, with all the uses you get from the stinging nettles!

Thanks! I'll let you know on the Discord app, in the Food trail, about Foraging posts that have recipes in them. Maybe we can do cross-over post listings every now and again.

Awesome, following.
And I might even write a small post (Though my posts always end up way too long) about my experience with foraging in Scotland.

Thanks for your enthusiasm for foraging! It would be great to read about your Scotland foraging -- in short or long posts!

Great post. Ill be doing posts on some of my foraging here in the northeast U.S. I have a bucket of acorns I'm still shelling through with my kids. This inspires me to finish up, take some pictures and make a post about it. Foraging has been a hobby of mine since I grew up hunting for moral mushrooms in southern Michigan. Once I read more on native Americans, and their ability to live entirely off the land, I was hooked on maintaining these skills and passing them on as much as I could. I think Steemit and Steemtrail might be good avenues for it.

Thanks,
CavemanRob

Thanks for your enthusiasm! I'm looking forward to your posts! I lived in southern Michigan for more than a decade. It's a great, great place for wild edibles! I had all sorts of maps that I used for all my great secret spots! Happy foraging!

I was just west of Kzoo, great hunting, camping and farming traditions there. Its a really fun place to grow up.

I was in Washtenaw County, but camped out a lot all over the Lower Peninsula. Michigan is so rich in great natural resources and those traditions you mentioned. It was one of my favorite places I've lived.

Just found this super excited! I love foraging so much fun!

That's great! It's nice to have another forager on Steemit! Hope to read about your foraging, too! :D