|Weeds & Greens|
Anyone who has planned a community event knows that people will show up if there’s food. Better yet, throngs will appear if the food is free. Until recently I assumed this was a cardinal social rule…but I've discovered an exception. Imagine a garden growing in a neighborhood. It doesn't have to be planted, fertilized, watered, or cultivated. Sadly, it grows and decays each season without much more than a passing glance or aggravated huff from the humans that share its habitat. Why? Because this garden is hidden in plain sight. It is the crabapples that litter the sidewalks, the dandelions that riddle the yard, the burdock burrs that tangle Fido’s fur, and the green haze that carpets the forest floor. Somewhere between the passage of time and the progress of society, the wild plants around us have been demoted from life-giving nourishment & health to pretty ornamentals at best and noxious weeds at worst. I've always appreciated this garden, but now I’m beginning to study it. Like a preschooler looking at the jumble of letters that fills an encyclopedia, I’m facing the overwhelming excitement that is the plant world in my own proverbial back yard. Plant by plant, part by part, one culinary and medicinal use at a time, I’m learning to utilize the wild garden around me. I don’t have to be an expert, I just have to begin. I’m writing to share that you can, too!