Foraging group uses Langley park as outdoor classroom

Nature

Campbell Valley Regional Park will become an outdoor classroom for tours put on by the Foraging Foundation.

The B.C. group has launched tours in Langley as well as some Vancouver parks to show people about the foods that grow around them and how to make use of these foods.

“It is our mission to educate participants on the identification and sustainable harvesting of wild edible plants, and also to encourage them to plant these wild edibles in their own gardens,” said foundation program director Jesse Evjenth.

The Langley tours run June 22, July 8 and 22, Aug. 9, and Sept. 4 and 23.

Each wild food foraging tour culminates in a catered gourmet dinner using foraged food (but no foraging takes place in the parks).

“This season we will be holding the tours at Campbell Valley Park because in the past, the old growth trees were logged,” explained Evjenth. “This ‘second-growth’ forest area offers a different variety of plants than untouched ‘first-growth’ forests (such as Lighthouse Park). Suitable harvesting sites will be suggested to participants on the tours based on our experience harvesting in the wild.”

Crown land is fair game for harvesting without a permit, but parks are protected areas and should not be used for harvesting.

As well, people should learn about sustainable harvesting in a given area.

The foundation eduates about how to harvest without destroying the ecosystem.

Each tour takes about three hours and participants learn about each natural habitat’s edible and medicinal plants, as well as become educated about sustainable harvesting and historical facts.

“The lunches we provide include seasonal foraged foods from Musqueam First Nation catering business Salishan Catering, so everyone will get to sample some of the foods we found on the tours. The lunches include smoked salmon,” he said. “Other than that, we will only be instructing participants on harvesting vegetarian plant foods.”

The Langley tour costs $50 per person and bookings can be made through foragerfoundation.org.

“We have seven dates for the Campbell Valley Park tours and each can hold up to 30 participants if fully booked,” Evjenth said.

The other tours take place in Stanley Park, Lighthouse Park, Sunnyside Acres, Lynn Canyon, Alice Lake Park, Pacific Spirit Park and Lost Lake Trail.

The dress code for the tours should be comfortable hiking shoes, rain proof clothing on wet days, and common sense dressing for any kind of weather. Everyone should bring a camera, and a notebook if they would like to take additional notes.

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