It's December and it might seem like fruit season is pretty much over for most of the eastern half of the US, but it's a good time to look for bradford/callery pears! (AND it's a good time to eat the fruit to curb their spread, as a highly invasive plant!)
Here's a page from my fruit foraging zine, FRUIT FOR FREE. You can download the whole book from my ko-fi page if you want to see more!
Since I've been very distracted from my garden all year I have a bumper crop of rosehips (never deadheaded my roses) gonna go for a walk down by the bayou to see if the wild roses had a similarly good year.
I hate dealing with the whole triple filtering to remove irritating rose hip hairs, so I'm debating about testing the cheong method of syrup making, just covering the hips whole in an equal weight of sugar.
I'm considering this a test experiment for the Mexican plums next year so I can make my own maesil cheong- green plum extract. I love the Mexican plums but they're so tart and effortful to process into jam, and with how much bulgogi I make I'd love to have a bottle or two put back
Analysis of data from dozens of foraging societies around the world shows that women hunt in at least 79% of these societies, opposing the widespread belief that men exclusively hunt and women exclusively gather. Abigail Anderson of Seattle Pacific University, US, and colleagues presented these findings in the open-access journal PLOS ONE on June 28, 2023.
A common belief holds that, among foraging populations, men have typically hunted animals while women gathered plant products for food. However, mounting archaeological evidence from across human history and prehistory is challenging this paradigm; for instance, women in many societies have been found buried alongside big-game hunting tools.
Some researchers have suggested that women's role as hunters was confined to the past, with more recent foraging societies following the paradigm of men as hunters and women as gatherers. To investigate that possibility, Anderson and colleagues analyzed data from the past 100 years on 63 foraging societies around the world, including societies in North and South America, Africa, Australia, Asia, and the Oceanic region.
They found that women hunt in 79% of the analyzed societies, regardless of their status as mothers. More than 70% of female hunting appears to be intentional—as opposed to opportunistic killing of animals encountered while performing other activities, and intentional hunting by women appears to target game of all sizes, most often large game.
The analysis also revealed that women are actively involved in teaching hunting practices and that they often employ a greater variety of weapon choice and hunting strategies than men.
These findings suggest that, in many foraging societies, women are skilled hunters and play an instrumental role in the practice, adding to the evidence opposing long-held perceptions about gender roles in foraging societies. The authors note that these stereotypes have influenced previous archaeological studies, with, for instance, some researchers reluctant to interpret objects buried with women as hunting tools. They call for reevaluation of such evidence and caution against misapplying the idea of men as hunters and women as gatherers in future research.
The authors add, "Evidence from around the world shows that women participate in subsistence hunting in the majority of cultures."
Found today while gathering acorns (swamp white oak). How adorable is this? I love her little feet, and the way she pivots around her proboscis, fascinated by how far her head rotates… Curculio sp. (if anyone can ID to species, please add!)
A little excerpt from my new foraging zine that a lot of people seem to be resonating with. My favorite part of any foraging book is always getting to talk about why I find the practice so meaningful 🌸💕
ETA: I wrote up a guide on clues that a foraging book was written by AI here!
[Original Tweet source here.]
Okay, yeah. This is a very, very, very bad idea. I understand that there is a certain flavor of techbro who has ABSOLUTELY zero problem with this because "AI is the future, bro", and we're supposed to be reading their articles on how to use AI for side hustles and all that.
I get that ID apps have played into people's tendency to want quick and easy answers to everything (I'm not totally opposed to apps, but please read about how an app does not a Master Naturalist make.) But nature identification is serious stuff, ESPECIALLY when you are trying to identify whether something is safe to eat, handle, etc. You have to be absolutely, completely, 100000% sure of your ID, and then you ALSO have to absolutely verify that it is safely handled and consumed by humans.
As a foraging instructor, I cannot emphasize this enough. My classes, which are intended for a general audience, are very heavy on identification skills for this very reason. I have had (a small subsection of) students complain that I wasn't just spending 2-3 hours listing off bunches of edible plants and fungi, and honestly? They can complain all they want. I am doing MY due diligence to make very sure that the people who take my classes are prepared to go out and start identifying species and then figure out their edibility or lack thereof.
Because it isn't enough to be able to say "Oh, that's a dandelion, and I think this might be an oyster mushroom." It's also not enough to say "Well, such-and-such app says this is Queen Anne's lace and not poison hemlock." You HAVE to have incredibly keen observational skills. You HAVE to be patient enough to take thorough observations and run them through multiple forms of verification (field guides, websites, apps, other foragers/naturalists) to make sure you have a rock-solid identification. And then you ALSO have to be willing to read through multiple sources (NOT just Wikipedia) to determine whether that species is safely consumed by humans, and if so if it needs to be prepared in a particular way or if there are inedible/toxic parts that need to be removed.
AND--this phenomenon of AI-generated crapola emphasizes the fact that in addition to all of the above, you HAVE to have critical thinking skills when it comes to assessing your sources. Just because something is printed on a page doesn't mean it's true. You need to look at the quality of the information being presented. You need to look at the author's sources. You need to compare what this person is saying to other books and resources out there, and make sure there's a consensus.
You also need to look at the author themselves and make absolutely sure they are a real person. Find their website. Find their bio. Find their social media. Find any other manners in which they interact with the world, ESPECIALLY outside of the internet. Contact them. Ask questions. Don't be a jerk about it, because we're just people, but do at least make sure that a book you're interested in buying is by a real person. I guarantee you those of us who are serious about teaching this stuff and who are internet-savvy are going to make it very easy to find who we are (within reason), what we're doing, and why.
Because the OP in that Tweet is absolutely right--people are going to get seriously ill or dead if they try using AI-generated field guides. We have such a wealth of information, both on paper/pixels and in the brains of active, experienced foragers, that we can easily learn from the mistakes of people in the past who got poisoned, and avoid their fate. But it does mean that you MUST have the will and ability to be impeccably thorough in your research--and when in doubt, throw it out.
My inbox is always open. I'm easier caught via email than here, but I will answer. You can always ask me stuff about foraging, about nature identification, etc. And if there's a foraging instructor/author/etc. with a website, chances are they're also going to be more than willing to answer questions. I am happy to direct you to online groups on Facebook and elsewhere where you have a whole slew of people to compare notes with. I want people's foraging to be SAFE and FUN. And AI-generated books aren't the way to make that happen.