In the Forest, Food is Free!

in #gardening5 years ago


Nature is my teacher and I'm learning that food is free in the forest. Instead of spending time in the woods, I like to think of it as more of an investment. Nature gives more than she receives. Nature is open-source. She offers her abundance with the world and her seeds adapt to their environment, sharing their wisdom freely for the benefit of all. Amazing!

After a hike, I always feel renewed and am often inspired with creative insights or new ideas. The forest has the ability to clear your mind of old thoughts, creating space for new ways of thinking and perceiving. In the peace of natural surroundings, I want to explore life's simple mysteries and things we often take for granted.


As we return to our daily lives, we can bring this prosperous vision back to our communities. We can shift our thinking and start planting the seeds for a future where abundance is normal. Small and simple acts can ripple out to catalyze change. A front yard garden can be the spark that inspires a neighbor to start growing their own food. You never know who you may inspire next!


We are a part of nature and it is a part of us. Growing up in the city, I had to make an effort to get into a truly natural surrounding. I found solace at the edge of my backyard, where things got a little overgrown. If we even let a small corner of the yard grow wild, it creates a space in which we can start to observe and learn. Our new discoveries then help us co-create with nature and open new realms of possibility.

Imagine a world where all of our needs were met by open source solutions; unleashing a new level of global creativity for all of humanity. Let's plant the seeds for this new normal.

Here I am in GIF form out in nature, eating FREE FOOD! Mmmm, wild blackberries! Have you had them this year?


What is your favorite place to recharge? What are your favorite wild foods or edible "weeds"?

Make it an awesome day!

Onward and Upwards,




I feel very connected to what you write in this post!
Nature has so much great to provide, thanks for inspiring us to use it.

My favorite place to recharge must be laying in my hammock in the forest, in front of a bonfire, or at my cabin by the fjord.

That sounds like a magical place to recharge indeed! Cabin by the fjord sounds epic too! You should share some photos of your journey. Onward and upward, through the woods!

LOVE the gif at the end! Inspiring words :)

Glad you liked it! :) GIF making may be a new black hole of awesomeness.

Thanks for the great post. Back in the 80's I had a business foraging herbs.It was not all rosy on the harvest side. We had clearcut foragers that would take all the plants in a patch. Some spies this is not a problem depending on what you harvest. Arnica for example you can harvest all the flower buds every harvest for the first two picking. The plant is actually the patch it has interconnection roots. Doing so expands the patch.

Other plants are not so forgiving.

When I was teaching foragers I would inform them proper Identification, Patch size to expand, What they could do to expand the patch.The part to harvest and how much without effecting the patch to leave no footprint. even with ethical foragers. This could lead to destruction of the patch. As if you processes the protocol especially the footprint a growing number of foragers. May not know you were there. Though they would never take it all they may reduce the patch to the point it no longer thrives.

I attempted to get industry support on a certification and patch registration program but got no were with that.

When Harvesting in the wild you need to 'farm' it the way you would do your own gardens. Hawthorn I would prune the way I would do in the garden. opening the plant for light harvest ability etc.

I had to quit as the money was only there in the large pharmaceutical projects. Nettle Max was one such project I did that was ethically sound. Things have evolved now though the are more that are interested in quality ethics rather than price.

@shantamcbain, I am a huge fan of this comment! Thank you for sharing! I would love to know more about foraging and it sounds like you are quite the fountain of information on the topic! I am just a novice in this area... always asking Google for help to make sure I am harvesting correctly. I grew up in a city with hardly any interaction with herbs, or plants so this is fairly new to me but I love absorbing everything I can and am going to follow, hopefully I can learn some more from you!
Thanks for sharing, I'll be looking out for more information on this!
Have a great day! :)

Thank you for the kind comments. I has been some time since I was a forager. I began as I traveled from healing arts into foraging. I began to put my personal herbarium into electronic form A task far from complete. Over time it gone typed and hand written sheets to a word purfo t document to HTML documents and now in a database. The ap;ication started on The current version is on and the bee version on

Wow, well thanks for sharing those resources with me. I can't wait to take a look! It sounds like I have a lot to learn and you have much to teach. Happy to have connected with you today! :)

We all have things to share. Each has their own story based on their experience in life. My sites and application is a tool for us all to share.

Hope what Is there is informative to you and feel free to join and share. I am looking into incorporating the steemit system to 'pay' for contributions.

Thank you for sharing your journey and experience! I look forward to learning more from you. I definitely want to be as conscious and ethical about wild harvesting as can be, always looking to help renew any areas I harvest from. Lately, I only ever harvest things in great abundance but would like to continue to learn how to best be of service to the local ecosystem.

There is an app for the Iphone that I downloaded for helping to identify plants or wild edibles. It allows you to take a picture of the plant and post it to the app and then someone will comment to help identify it for you. It is kinda cool and needs to be more publicly advertised. Thanks for sharing your post

Wow, that is awesome! The power of the hive mind can do anything. I have an android, so I wonder if there's something similar for that platform. Or we could start a plant identification tag or group on steemit or

what a brilliant idea. I am game.

Yup, the kids love blackberry picking time. Always makes going for a walk more exciting :) Red buds are a favorite too.

Nice! I only learned a couple years ago that you could eat the Redbud flowers. Mmm, I can almost taste them now!

Wonderful, I wish I could go pick my local mountain blackberries this instant! Resteeming

Thank you! Do you live near mountains? Which ones?

Hi! Yes, I live right at the foot of the San Bernardino Mountains /National Forest. This is the southernmost bit of the Sierra Nevada range. Here is a recent post I did of my favorite berrying spot. It wasn't ready then, but I hope to find luscious blackberries there next time I head up! Thanks again for your delightful article :)

Awesome! Get back there soon before the birds beat you to 'em! :)

Hehe, not to mention BEARS!

Indeed! Just saw a little black bear the other day.

I don't horde food any more because I know there is so much out there. Knowledge certainly is power :)

Right on! Indeed, learning how to identify the abundance all around us is the way to go!

that is a cool tank top and where is that planter located?
Soy tu tio

Thank you! The planter is in Brooklyn put out by the local Food is Free Project there. It was from a couple years ago, so I don't know if it's still there. I'd love to find out!

It'll be great if it is still there and not by itself but with a couple more close to it.
Where else have people placed planters like this. This is awesome

I sure hope it's expanded and multiplied into a few more gardens! The project started as a front yard that then inspired me and my neighbors to line our block in front yard gardens and share the harvest. We used salvaged materials and blogged about our mistakes and successes, open sourcing the vision. Now over 350 cities around the world have started Food is Free Projects, growing and sharing food. We're all learning from each other and sharing inspiration/ideas. :)

no way, I will look to see if there is any in Sacramento CA

Awesome! If not, you can start a Food is Free Project. It all starts with that first front yard or visible community garden. From there, you'll start sparking connections with others and it will evolve and grow. Even just sharing your ideas about where to grow and share food in your community with your neighbors and friends will start conversations that open up doors. Let me know if I can offer any advice along the way!

I will for sure, yeah I was thinking about the planters I can do a little one just right outside our apartment door like a fence for the plants and use some dirt that is there already and have it outside with lots of herbs so other ppl can take too and get the feeling and hopefully get some others going :D

Totally do it! Take a before and after photo from the same spot and then again after it's overflowing with herbs. That would be such a cool thing to see. You will definitely inspire new gardeners and may well connect with some others who would want to lend a hand or offer some seeds/tools/compost. Stay in touch about your ideas!

Those berries look so good! I'm currently waiting for our grapes to turn fully purple. Last year we had so much fun sharing giant bunches with the neighbors and our family. Yay for the good earth!

Wow, that sounds amazing! Please share photos on here when it's harvest time. Yay for the good Earth indeed!

I definitely will. Have a great day.

Looking forward to that future post! How cool would a time lapse video of the grapes ripening be, starting off as flowers, then slowly growing and changing color.

That would be cool. Too bad the passionflower vine is trying to upstage the grapes. The bees love it though, so I let the vines fight it out.

I love passion flower! Have you ever tried making a tea out of it? I think to fruit it needs 2 varieties of passion vine, do you know if that's right?

I'm not sure. The vine just started growing near the grape a few years ago. It has fruit though. Do you make tea from the flowers or the fruit?

The flowers will become the fruit, so I've heard of making tea from the leaves but I'm sure you could also use the flowers. They may be different strengths but I know it has a very relaxing, calming effect.

I love the positive energy that I can feel radiating through this post!! Thank you for sharing :)

Also PS I just followed you and looked at your profile. My motto is "Plant seeds and sing songs"!! I have a sticker that says that on the back of my vehicle :)

Epic! I used to have that sticker on my old car and I've always resonated with that phrase. Great to be connected on here. Keep singing and planting!

Thank you for sharing that! We are all transmitters of frequency and I'm a big fan of high vibrations. :) Great to connect.

Hey John! See? I knew we were going to be really good friends! This post is exactly what I like to see in the world! Food should be free! It's unthinkable to me why it isn't. Continuing to spread this voice, this knowledge, this movement is going to help change the world! I remember when I was little, my grandmother took me into the woods and I found some blackberries. She told me to wipe the dirt off and then we ate them together. Later in life, somewhere along the way I learned to be afraid to eat wild foods! So much so, that when I first started my new journey into homesteading, permaculture, ect, I had a hard time retraining my brain! Isn't that crazy! I would see food like in the picture you posted and be afraid of it! Must be something wrong with it if it's free! Our programming is so deeply rooted, it's disappointing to say the least but through this awareness- we can change it! So, thank you for sharing this John! I am so happy to have been connected to you! I love it :) Have a great day!

Thank you for sharing your thoughts and experience! I totally know what you mean about our cultural programming. We're taught there's no such thing as a free lunch, but what about if you go off into the woods for lunch and dine with Mother Nature! It is certainly hard to change our perspective but through small steady adjustments and experiments, I believe we can start to pave new trails in our minds and hearts. Great to be connected!

Hey no need to thank me! You created the perfect space for us to have this discussion and for that I thank you :) I believe we can change the course as well! Looking forward to hedging way together!

Onward and upward, through the fog!

Thank you, kindly! Be well.

glad to find you folks on steemit. have been following on facebook for a while now :)

Awesome! Great to connect on here. Since Food is Free is open source, I think this would be an awesome platform to get those growing and sharing food to unite and learn from/inspire each other. Be well!

Open source nature, I like it! My favourite wild green is watercress. Commonly found in small streams... spicy and super nutritious : )

Mmmm, yum! I've only come across watercress once since being able to recognize it but I'm sure I just need to pay more attention. :)

Our blackberries are just starting, they are green and I can't wait to go picking with the boys soon. You're gonna have to show me this GIF trick someday soon. PS: Love the pink flowers on the feet photo!

Almost pickin' time! Probably just a week or two more before they're ripe near you. Happy to share any advice in the GIF department. It's quite a bit of fun. There are a few sites that can help. Check out You can turn images or video into a GIF. It makes it really easy and you can compress it so it loads faster.

YAY!!!! Thank you SO Much for sharing your knowledge with me John! I'm gonna give it a try for sure, it looks WAYYY too fun! :) :) :)

Do it! Please make a gif of the whole family with the chickens too! LOL! Let me know if you have any questions about converting it and whatnot.

I will probably have questions...knowing my tech skills or lack thereof...good thing I know where to reach ya! Thanks for the offer of assistance!

My favourite weeds are burdock, plantain, purslane and amaranth.

Awesome! Those are great ones. I definitely have burdock, plantain and wild amaranth around me and had tons of purslane in my yard in Texas. Do you make tea from the Burdock root?

Awesome. I got burdock,plantain, and wild amaranth in the backyard. I have purslane at work and I bought purslane seeds from west coast seeds and planted them in one of my raised beds.

Never tried burdock tea but I've made chips from the root.

Planning to try a bunch of recipes this year.

Very cool about making chips! Were they baked or dehydrated?

This video has some epic herbal medicine info. Great youtube channel all-around:

Baked. But I own a dehydrater now so I might do them again that way.

Sweet! I'll be checking that channel out for sure!

Right on. I think you'll dig the Living Web Farms Youtube channel. It has some awesome talks.

I think so too. I'm an aspiring farmer, so I'm always looking to learn more growing techniques.

Awesome. Well it's great to be connected on here. I'm all about sharing ideas and brainstorming. Stay in touch!

This post has received a 7.74 % upvote from @booster thanks to: @foodisfree.

Nice post John , in my country (sudan) the lands is virgin and very fertile and you can plant your food in the backward and indeed it's healthier to eat a natural food from your own planting and it's all free..
Well done what you've did there in that industrial community.

That's awesome to hear how fertile your land is! Do you have gardens growing now? What kind of crops do you like to plant?

We have a couple of flowers growing in the backward , it needs more care to be a garden, actually all the family are working out and coming at the end of day very tiered and no body taking care of it, that is why i'm impressed by your work and encourage me to do something.

I recommend just starting small and little victories in the garden will inspire more expansion each season. You can ride the momentum while learning what works best in your area. Stay in touch as I'm happy to brainstorm ideas on growing or any obstacles that might come up.

Nice..You cant beat free food.Those Blackberries look really tasty.

They were very tasty! Something quite magical about fruit or veggies straight from the plant, warm from the sun. Cheers!

I have worked on farms for 7 seven years and am now back to city.... not only food should be free but everything... but that is a good step to join the earth custodians, feel free to drop by my site when you get a chance.

I hear ya! Open source everything! Let's plant the seeds of an abundant future for all! Great to be connected on here. :)

Great name, Yes it is.
I live in Panama in a semi desert area, But you can walk around all day and just eat fruits and veggies. The garden of eden for sure.
Thanks for the post
I'm now following

That's awesome to hear. I'd love to hear and see more about your experience walking around picking fresh abundant harvests. That sounds like the garden of eden indeed! Great to be connected.

I stayed at a permaculture farm in Cost Rica years ago ( Cascada verde) And became friends with the owner. He took me on a day tour that was mind blowing for me. I ate leaves, then flowers of all sorts, then roots ( 1 tasted like butterd mashed potatos ) he had ponds with freshwater clams others with fish. Unfortunaly I live on a rocky hill with little soil and next to no rain here.
Plants that are not native to this area have a tough time.
But we do ok, No water is wasted. I put a papaya tree at our shower outfall and in 5 months it was producing fruit.
Time for a walk around the yard with a camera I guess.
Stay tuned

Sounds like an awesome tour! Soil can always be built up on top of rocks. If you check out Ben Falk and his book The Resilient Homestead, he has been able to build a lot of soil on top of bedrock. He's in a colder climate but there could be some good techniques you could utilize. Looking forward to a video tour of your place!

Coming soon, But my lovely wife has set me off again LOL
I've got lots of pictures ( Too many actually ) and have ordered 4 huge dump truck loads of soil for landscaping. Usually 1/2 rocks and poor dirt. But little by little it's coming along. I'm mining along the roadway now. Taking what top soil I can find and making retaning walls with the rocks I've dug up, and putting the soil in that.
Getting back to were I started, I'm going to town to cool off at my favorite pool hall Here which got little attention. And led to This
Hope you enjoy them :-)
Chat soon

Right now it's Me Time

Nice! Sounds like you have lots of exciting projects evolving. Set up some timelapse videos, that would be so cool!

I was thinking of something like that. A photo every day for a year. some parts of our yard really change. In the dry season, lots of trees shed there leaves and the whole countryside turns brown.

Nice! I ordered something called a garden cam that is weatherproof and you can set it to take time lapses every from every 30 seconds to once a day for months at a time. Runs off batteries and stores photos to an SD card. I bet now, they have even more options available. You could always use a gopro too.

Would that be fabulous to have an open source world of food,
oh wait we do, we just need to relearn what is edible.
Great post.

Love it! Thanks you. So true! We also need to remember that we are a PART of nature, not APART from nature. :)

That is a great tip to remember that we are a part of nature!

Time in nature is one of my favorite medicines!

Nice post! Upvoted

Thanks for sharing the vision!

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