Samuel Thayer — internationally recognized authority on edible wild plants — was one of our very first guests on ReWild Yourself Podcast (way back in Episode #2!), and I’m so honored to have him back on the show for Episode #152 to discuss a fundamental topic for the conscientious forager: Ecoculture.
Sam has authored two award-winning books on foraging, Nature’s Garden and The Forager’s Harvest, and he’s soon-to-be-releasing a third volume in his Forager’s Harvest series, Incredible Wild Edibles. He has taught foraging and field identification for more than two decades. Besides lecturing and writing, Sam is an advocate for sustainable food systems who owns a diverse organic orchard in northern Wisconsin and harvests wild rice, acorns, hickory nuts, maple syrup, and other wild products.
For Sam, hunting and gathering is not just a passion he pursues on the side, it is life. That may sound unattainable in our modern world, but tune in, and you’ll see that Sam’s approach is practical, comprehensive and well within reach.
In today’s show, we delve into "the management of natural ecosystems to enhance their production of useful products," or as Sam calls it, Ecoculture. Think “agriculture” and “permaculture,” but rather than tending to crops, we foragers tend the wild. Nature is productive, resilient and, perhaps most importantly, it includes humans. Rooted in our ancestry, hunting and gathering is how we cultivate relationship with our ecology, gain sovereignty from the agriculturally-dominated food system and protect the biodiversity of our planet for future generations. Tune in as Sam guides us through the principles of Ecoculture, and learn how you can get started stewarding your local landscapes right now.
- Show Introduction:
- SurThrival re-introduces Yaupon!
- Hunt + gather updates: Clamming, shadbush, milkweed & blueberries
- Q&A: Does blueberry raking harm the plant?
- ReWild Yourself Podcast spotlight: Ask a Mortician - Caitlin Doughty #146
- Introducing Sam Thayer
- How Sam became an authority in the foraging world
- Integrating wild food into your daily life
- The divide between foragers and hunters
- How the foraging demographic has changed over the years
- Hunting and gathering as life vs a part of life
- What is Ecoculture?
- Replacing our agro-centric creation myth
- Domestication of plants — who’s in control?
- Nature is productive and resilient
- Human impact on nature and “leave no trace” principles
- Can 7 billion people forage?
- The role of hunter gatherers in protecting biodiversity
- How to get started in landscape stewardship
- Sam’s hopes for the legacy of his work
- Sam’s prognosis for the future of the human species
- How to work with Sam