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
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ReWild Yourself Podcast is brought to you by:
America’s Indigenous Stimulant is Back! Did you know that Yerba Mate’ has a North American sibling? Yaupon (pronounced yo - pawn)––North America’s only native caffeine plant––was revered by the native peoples of the continent’s southern regions. Nearly forgotten, the “Black Drink” as it was called, has re-emerged amidst the movement toward sustainably-harvested local-food.
RESOURCES FROM THIS SHOW:
- ReWild Yourself Podcast: MovNat, How to Get Involved Now — Danny Clark #148
- ReWild Yourself Podcast: Ask a Mortician - Caitlin Doughty #146
- ReWild Yourself Podcast: Foraging Wild Foods - Sam Thayer #2
- CNN article: What a hunter-gatherer diet does to the body in just three days
- The Hadza
- The age of the hominin fossils from Jebel Irhoud, Morocco, and the origins of the Middle Stone Age
- Hammons Black Walnuts
Connect with Sam:
Samuel Thayer is an internationally recognized authority on edible wild plants who has authored two award-winning books on the topic, Nature’s Garden and The Forager’s Harvest. He has taught foraging and field identification for more than two decades. Besides lecturing and writing, Samuel is an advocate for sustainable food systems who owns a diverse organic orchard and harvests wild rice, acorns, hickory nuts, maple syrup, and other wild products. He lives in rural northern Wisconsin with his wife and three children.