From the Wildcrafter’s Basket to the Chef’s Table:
The Ethics and Tastes of the Wild
July 29-August 2, 2019
Faculty: Nova Kim & Les Hook
Wild food traditions have sustained human habitation since well before the first European settlers arrived in the Green Mountain State. Wild foods, such as fiddleheads and wild leeks (ramps), have remained as lively additions to our diet. Today, wild food gatherers are able to collect approximately 150 different wild edible plants ranging from greens, roots, nuts, barks, berries, and wild mushrooms. These wild food gatherers keep these foods and tastes alive and relevant through their own personal use, sharing within their communities and, introducing them to new eaters through farmers-markets, local chefs and CSA’s. Maintaining this tradition honors our original foods and ensures food biodiversity is sustained. These foods cannot be hurried or produced on demand, but only as Mother Nature offers them. Learning to recognize and enjoy them in their season adds important nutrients to our diet while demonstrating the importance of protecting the habitat these foods will thrive in for generations to come. This course introduces the concept, ethics, historical uses and environmental impact of collecting native and introduced wild foods while teaching the correct techniques of identification, harvesting, handling, marketing, and, any relevant state and federal regulations. Of course, you’ll get to taste along the way!
This course covers:
- Historical and Present Context of Collecting Wild Foods
- Habitat and Environmental Impact
- Current Federal Food Code and State Regulations
- Botanical Identification & Nomenclature
- Collection Techniques & Equipment
- Harvesting, Land Use- Private vs. Public, Permissions, Storage, Transportation
- Edibility, Health Benefits and Concerns
- Tracking, Documentation, & Safe Food Handling
- Discussion of Guilds, Cooperative, Marketing Techniques, & Insurance
Level: 200 / Beginner to Intermediate
Tuition & Fees: $1,000 covers the cost of the class, most course materials, and daily meals from our top-ranked Sterling Kitchen. Accommodations are not included in course pricing.
Housing Availability & Fees: On-campus housing is available for an additional fee of $60/night with a private bathroom and $50/night with shared bathrooms. Please note that Sterling College offers rustic/vintage/farmhouse style accommodations that are clean and safe but not luxurious. Availability is limited and room requests are filled on a first-come, first-serve basis. If you prefer to stay off-campus please see our accommodations page for local recommendations.
Les Hook and Nova Kim bring their wealth of information from over eighty years of combined wildcrafting experience working with forest resources in the Northeast, South and Rocky Mountains. This powerhouse wildcrafting couple are internationally renowned and featured in numerous books and articles, including the New York Times Magazine, the New York Times, New York Magazine, Village Voice, FoodArts Magazine, Green Living Journal, Yankee Magazine, Vermont Magazine, Vermont Life and others. They have taught or presented at the Smithsonian Folklife & Cultural Festival for both their forestry activism and food culture innovation; Terra Madre Conferences (Italy) on Wild Resources; the International Workshop on Edible Mycorrhizal Mushrooms, What We Stand to Lose, IWEMM-7 Conference (Guatemala); and at several of Vermont’s educational institutions. They have also been featured guests on various radio and TV programs including VPR’s Vermont Edition and NPR’s Splendid Table.