The World of Wild Edibles

seapurslaneflowr-097by John Ubele

A few months ago I was reading a book about permaculture called, “Gaia’s Garden”, and came across a section in it covering wild edibles. I’ve been gardening since I was a teenager so I was excited to find out that some wild plants (also known as weeds) are edible. Having lived in Florida all my life gardening can be challenging here, especially when insects come in and ravage the crops.

After reading the brief section on wild edibles I decided to order a book called, “Forager’s Harvest”. The book is very well written and profiles over 50 wild edible plants throughout North America. There’s also a section in the back which gives excellent examples on how to identify plants by their leaves, stems and other parts.

I decided to educate myself more after reading the book so I searched for videos on YouTube covering wild edibles. The best ones I came across were from a channel called, “Eat The Weeds”, which is operated by Deane Jordan.

“I started teaching wild edibles because I wanted to make pollution personal. It’s one thing to tell people the environment is polluted, it’s another to show them a tree full of fruit they cannot eat because it’s too close to the Interstate.” Jordan said Sunday in an e-mail exchange with me.

I was delighted to find that Jordan’s channel has 105 videos, 101 of which profile different wild edibles. His other videos show how to make cider and vinegar, build a solar oven, and how to eat mole crabs and coquina.

While many of the plants Jordan profiles are native to Florida most can be found across North America. Jordan also has a website called eattheweeds.com where he gives a thorough write up about each plant he’s profiled in his videos.

“Foraging does more than put food on the table. It makes a person not only more aware of their surroundings but nature then becomes a resource rather than something to be controlled or eliminated,” Jordan added

Thanks to Jordan’s videos I’ve been able to properly identify three plants in my area. They are Creeping cucumber, Stinging nettle and Purslane, I’ve tasted all of these and have recommended them to my friends.

For thousands of years humans have been eating wild edibles and it’s very likely that they’ll become popular again given the state of our rapidly deteriorating economy.

Happy Foraging!

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States are facing a great fiscal crisis. At least 46 states faced or are facing shortfalls in their budgets for this and/or next year, and severe fiscal problems are highly likely to continue into the following year as well. Combined budget gaps for the remainder of this fiscal year and state fiscal years 2010 and 2011 are estimated to total more than $350 billion.

States are currently at the mid-point of fiscal year 2009 — which started July 1 in most states — and are in the process of preparing their budgets for the next year. Over half the states had already cut spending, used reserves, or raised revenues in order to adopt a balanced budget for the current fiscal year — which started July 1 in most states. Now, their budgets have fallen out of balance again. New gaps of $46 billion (over 9% of state budgets) have opened up in the budgets of at least 42 states plus the District of Columbia. These budget gaps are in addition to the $48 billion shortfalls that these and other states faced as they adopted their budgets for the current fiscal year, bringing total gaps for the year to over 14 percent of budgets.

The states’ fiscal problems are continuing into the next two years. At least 41 states have looked ahead and anticipate deficits for fiscal year 2010 and beyond. These gaps total almost $88 billion — 16 percent of budgets — for the 34 states that have estimated the size of these gaps and are likely to grow as gaps are re-estimated in the next few months.

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Gold is likely to hit new record highs, spurred by serious concern about the U.S. currency and doubt about the state of the world economy, the chairman of Barrick Gold Corp. said on Thursday.

There was even a possibility, although not a probability, central banks, including China’s, might start to switch from dollar holdings to gold, which could cause the metal’s price to treble or more.

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