The Wild Wisdom of Weeds: 13 Essential Plants for Human Survival

The Wild Wisdom of Weeds, by Katrina Blair

The Wild Wisdom of Weeds: 13 Essential Plants for Human Survival

Published: October 7, 2014

Format: Paperback

ISBN: 978-1603585163

Eat your weeds or there’ll be no dessert!
At a lecture I once attended during an organic farming conference a speaker asserted that the best form of food security would come from learning to eat grass. “You would always have enough to share and next to no one would try to take it away from you.” Laughter followed.
Seventeen years later. Climate change, extended drought, massive floods, failing agriculture systems, famines a world population of 7 billion+, who’s laughing now?
These “scientific facts” do not care whether anyone believes in them or not. Food production, either organic or conventional, is, in its present form, no longer sustainable and starting to collapse around the planet due to multiple, cascading factors, not the least of which are declining amounts of fresh water and fossil fuels.
I have long been an advocate of food independence and freedom through the practice of home gardening.
And It IS SO doable even with the smallest of spaces, but no matter how much I rant or try to offer advice, I am aware that not everyone has the ability, knowledge, or dedication it takes to produce enough food to feed themselves and their family.
Perhaps that’s why there have always been farmers.
Now the issue may well be forced upon us. Where will you get your food if there is simply not enough to go around or no one to grow it for you?
In a major crisis such as an earthquake, storm, or solar flare that disrupts the grid and supply systems in most major cities, supermarkets will be empty in about seven days.
Even if you’re a “prepper” with plenty of canned beans and a stockpile of nitrogen preserved seeds, will you know where and how to plant them (or any way to water them if you do)?
This all may seem a bit overdramatic but with all that is happening and has happened, is it really? In any case, the point here is there are in fact many vegetative food sources readily available all around us. They just happen to look like weeds. Because they are. Weeds. So to speak.
In her wonderful book “The Wild Wisdom of Weeds, 13 Essential Plants for Human Survival, Katrina Blair describes 13 plants considered weeds by most, which grow in almost every environment outside the deep desert or arctic permafrost.
Each plant is explained, ID info given along with its uses and the offering of many astonishing recipes as well, even desserts! Good photos and line drawings abound. Blair explains that she has chosen the 13 because they are indeed so common all around the world, albeit sometimes a slightly different varietal than what I or you might have at home but still highly recognizable as such.
All of these “weeds” are not only edible, flavorful and nutritious but all have medicinal benefits as well.
We have all 13 growing wild on and about the land we steward and plus some.
I will list the 13 plants here, adding in a few extras we have here locally on the Central Coast of California.

  • Amaranth
  • Chickweed
  • Clover
  • Dandelion
  • DockGrass (Oats, wheat etc)
  • Knotweed
  • Lambs Quarters
  • Mallow
  • Mustard
  • Plantain
  • Purslane
  • Thistle

Some extras locally:

  • Miners Lettuce
  • Naturalized Nasturtium
  • Sheep Sorrel
  • Stinging Nettle
  • Wild Radish
  • Wild Violet

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