If you are anything like me you would really like to have a deeper understanding the food, medicine, and practical uses of the plants in YOUR particular bio-region. I’ve read plenty of edible and medicinal plant books, but most of the ones that are commercially available are geared towards the ENTIRE north american continent. The problem is that many of the regional plants get lost in the shuffle, even the ones that are very culturally important on the regional level. For instance, have you ever seen biscuit root, balsam root, wapato, or blue camas in your everyday edible plants book? I haven’t, but these were all very important edible and useful plants in the pacific northwest. I had never heard of them until I moved to this area and even then, not until I tried really hard to learn about region-specific plants!
I highly recommend that, where ever you are, you take the time to learn about plants that are specific to your region. You might be surprised at how much more valuable the region-specific plants are compared to the more ubiquitous plants that you find in your everyday edible plants guide. You can live a lot longer on camas bulbs than you can on dandelion greens!
For my area, the pacific northwest, and more specifically the inland northwest (because that is where I have land and want to live full time), I have a found few really great resources that I would like to share with the community.
[ul][li]Plant Technology of First Peoples in British Columbia by Nancy J. Turner[/li]
[li]Food Plants of Interior First Peoples by Nancy J. Turner[/li][/ul]
Both of these books are hugely informative and include the northern portion of NW Washington state. Who knew you could pit steam and then eat black tree lichen? So far I’ve only used it as my go-to tinder for hand-drill nests!
I am also very excited about the Botany and Foraging Intensive course that will be held in July of this year (2015) based in the Kettle Falls, WA area. The course if being co-led by Tom Elpel from Green University based in Montana and Kyle Chamberlain from The Human Habitat Project. The course will be base camped at The Human Habitat Project outside of Kettle Falls and will explore the surrounding region. I’ve signed up for this course because it is very important to me to learn about and gain experience with the myriad of valuable food plants in the area. Many of these plants are region-specific and have not crossed my path thus far. If you are interested in learning more about the plants in this part of the world I highly recommend taking this course! It is a month long and a quite a bargain. It promises to be a lot of fun and I hope to see you there!
If you have experience with the plants in the inland northwest or would like to collaborate on a foraging excursion I’d love to hear from you and learn all I can! Also if you are learning about or experienced in primitive hunting or fishing techniques I would love to connect. Drop me a line!