If you go down to the woods today…

You’re sure of a big surprise. At least that’s what the lyrics to the Teddy Bear’s Picnic promises. And that’s also what the 2013 season of Savour Winnipeg’s Fantastic Forest Forage promises.

With the onset of spring (trust me, it’s coming all too fast) thoughts turn easily to the growing season. In spite of iceberg-like embankments along our boulevards, many of us are already planning our gardens, choosing seeds, maybe even making a preemptive visit to the garden supply store (big box or otherwise). But since partnering with my good friend and fellow outdoor enthusiast Barret Miller of Fort Whyte Alive to develop the Fantastic Forest Forage, the term growing season has taken on a whole new meaning.

A Fantastic Forest Forage is fun for the foodie, the chef, the outdoor enthusiast, and the whole family (kids under 12 forage free). Getty Stewart author and founder of Fruit Share (far right) and Chef Ben Kramer of Diversity Food Service (second adult from left) attended the first of the 2012 sessions.

Now entering its third year, the Fantastic Forest Forage is a guided excursion into the wonderful and sometimes weird world of wild edibles–some of the things that grow naturally and make the prairies the Prairies. Things that have grown here for hundreds, if not hundreds of thousands of years and are good to eat (or at least palatable). We talk techniques, swap stories, and make new friends along the way. Every excursion is different. Every season is different. It’s completely unlike the artificial seasonality that greenhouses and supermarkets have taught us to expect. There are no guarantees. There are always surprises (no Teddy Bears picnicing…at least not yet). And perhaps most importantly, it’s informative. It’s fun. And it’s yours to experience.

Why Forage?

The Swampy Cree nickname for the Wild Rose Hip loosely translates as “itchy bum berry.” But this abundant wild edible can also make for good eating (if you know which parts).

Humans are omnivores – no matter our cultural and personal preferences and choices, we can eat plant and animal material. Hunting and gathering, an ancient way of life, provided both meat-based and plant-based foods. Hunting and gathering communities live close to the land, in tune with the seasons, very much aware of the rhythms of nature and role in the ecosystem.

Agriculture, industrialization, and urbanization have led us away from the closeness to nature our ancestors took for granted. Though very few of us would like to see a return to ancient, uncomfortable ways, many of us long to feel part of the natural world around us again.

Foraging, or gathering to supplement our regular diet, teaches us about the place in we live in, introduces us to new foods and is a great way to connect with the natural world and remember our place in the system.

The Fantastic Forest Forage offers you that chance. Not just for one afternoon, but for an entire season. Each year, each season, each month is an invitation to discover something new. Our list of discoveries and understanding of the seasons is growing, along with an appreciation for what we have right here on our doorstep. And this is your invitation.

If you’re a Winnipegger, or planning to visit Winnipeg and looking for something to do, please join us for a Fantastic Forest Forage. With six dates to offer, there’s bound to be one (or more) that works for you.

Click on the Experiences tab or visit www.SavourWinnipeg.com/experiences and register today.


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