What kind of environmental impacts do you see occurring as wild foods become less wild?
In terms of conservation, we need to consider how we can leverage our desire for wild foods to protect wild places. But, more importantly, we need to think about how we can “re-wild” our agricultural system away from mono-crops and industrial methods. How do we encourage a biodiverse culture, both in agriculture and in our larger society?
Maintaining wildness in the world is very much tied into the larger systemic changes we are fighting for around racism right now. All these systems of oppression and environmental destruction are inter-related. We have to begin to imagine and implement a world that is no longer a monoculture but a polyculture — one that celebrates the weirdness, the diversity, and the weeds. How do we build a world around mutual thriving instead of domination and competition?
The book has received great reviews and words of praise by big names in environmental writing. What has that reaction been like?
I have been utterly surprised and a bit in shock by the response. The New York Times
put it on their Summer Reading List and Amazon picked it as one of the ten Best Books of the Month for June. It’s been wild to have science and environmental writing idols like Elizabeth Kolbert, David Haskell, Ed Yong, and Michael Pollan praise and promote the book.
But I’ve been most encouraged by my fellow F&ES students, many of whom were there with me six years ago when I began this adventure. To hear that the book touched some deep part of them made me realize I was able to capture something common to all of us who care for the planet in this moment of crisis — we do our work with a vital mix of curiosity, heartbreak, and reverence for the infinitely complex ecology we all share.
“Feasting Wild” is available now and can be purchased from most major retailers.