Before you begin to gather plants for your wildlife friendly crafts, take the time to consider these honorable harvest teachings.
Thoughts on harvesting and gratitude:
· Understand the ecosystem you’re in and what it needs to thrive – we want regeneration, not sustainability (just getting by) this is important now more than ever.
· Understand the system in which we have stopped listening to nature and seek to control / extract from it.
· Don’t over-harvest.
· Offer to Elders first, don’t think about yourself first.
· Everything has a spirit. Plants, trees, animals, rocks, and mountains are our relatives.
· Introduce yourself first, give thanks and make an offering before taking.
· Build relationship and reciprocity. This way you will get the most out of the medicine.
· Think more about giving back than taking: plant a beneficial garden, plant native food plants and encourage communal access & education, rewild urban spaces, make seed bombs (that fit the ecosystem) to grow plants in sparse areas, remove invasive species (Himalayan blackberry, English ivy, scotch broom, Morning Glory), harvest mindfully to allow more growth.
· See the world as abundant and gift-giving. What you receive/harvest is a gift.
· Harvesting from a clean place means the medicine can be used for our healing and use. Harvesting from a busy place next to traffic, people/pets etc. means the medicines should be reserved for healing the land.
· Always ask permission from the plant and offer something when removing from ground.
Plants give us the information we need to know what type of medicines they provide:
· Look at their color, texture, shape.
· Yellow draws out toxins.
· Red is good for blood.
· Purple is anti-oxidant.
· Ex Oregon grape’s fruit is bitter and purple, good for stomach. Yellow roots and flower is good for toxins (treats TB).
· Some are medicinal, traditional, culinary uses.
Senaqwila Wyss, Squamish Nation
Robin Wall Kimmerer, Potawatomi Nation, author of Braiding Sweetgrass (check out this video)