On Monday I got home after spending the weekend at the fabulous Wilderness Festival. It was the fourth festival I have presented at this summer and was also the last I am scheduled to appear at this year.
I love having the opportunity to work at festivals, to get a chance to share my enthusiasm for what I know with a new audience, to get some great feedback, and of course to sell lots of copies of both of my books.
What blew me away at Wilderness was the huge number of people that chose to join me for a walk and learn about our heritage, the plants. On Saturday there were more than 50 people and on Sunday my husband gave up counting when he reached 70! The reason this is amazing is that there were so many other activities like wild swimming, horse riding, roller disco, even a lakeside spa, alongside the regular festival talks and bands. It has made me feel warm, happy, and confident about what I do, what I have dedicated myself to.
So many years ago I made an agreement with a plant that I would fly the flag for the green people, that I would help remind my human companions of their green leafy relations. The wild food revolution is well underway with TV coverage of food foraging, and plenty of high profile chefs using wild foraged ingredients. Wild medicine foraging is lagging behind. In part I’m sure that is fear related; could that plant be poisonous? Could it aggravate my condition? Yet it was the only option our ancestors had (before the advent of the modern pharmacy), and many plants contain the active ingredients and inspiration for many of our modern medicines.
On my wild medicine walks I am not trying to replace the modern pharmacy but compliment it with natures bounty. Many minor ailments and little scuffs can easily and effectively be treated by plants growing all around us, in the hedgerows, even amongst the grass on your lawn.
It is my hope that by demystifying the use of wild plants as medicines people will reach out and try some of them, forming a relationship with the plants that grow around us, with nature. In so doing, in touching, tasting, relating, to wild plants we all become a little wilder, and that little spark inside grows as we remember that yes, we too, are a part of nature…