Savouring the Free Lunch: Edible Activism and the Joy of Foraging

Part of the Environmental Discourses in Science Education book series (EDSE, volume 6)


At a time when industrial agriculture and multi-national conglomerates dominate the foodscape in many parts of the Western world, when the ecological context of food is often excised from the act of eating, can the practice of foraging help reshape our sense of belonging within the earth community? In this chapter, we present a dialogue on our foraging experiences. David reflects on the impact of shucking oysters on a remote island, catching smelt in a stream and struggling to identify berries from a field guide. Heesoon recalls her botanical education under the tutelage of her mother, who imparted her traditional knowledge on edible weeds, and picking berries with her daughters. Through each of these episodes, we explore the sacramental, cultural, relational, and educational significance of our foraging experiences. Although foraging practices cannot promise to feed the current world population, we suggest that intentional foraging practice can constitute a form of edible activism, a way of re-thinking and reshaping participation in a pervasive consumer culture that sees food as commodity rather than communion.


Local knowledge Foraging Edible activism Gathering 


  1. Bai, H. (2004). The three I’s for ethics as an everyday activity: Integration, intrinsic valuing, and intersubjectivity. Canadian Journal of Environmental Education, 9, 51–64.Google Scholar
  2. Bai, H., Elza, D., Kovacs, P., & Romanycia, S. (2010). Re-searching and re-storying the complex and complicated relationship of biophilia and bibliophilia. Environmental Education Research, 16, 351–365. Scholar
  3. Berry, T. (2006). In M. E. Tucker (Ed.), Evening thoughts: Reflecting on earth as sacred community (1st ed.). San Francisco: Sierra Club Books. Scholar
  4. Bourdieu, P. (1990). The logic of practice. Cambridge: Polity.Google Scholar
  5. Dogen, & Uchiyama. (1983). From the Zen kitchen to enlightenment: Refining your life (T. Wright, Trans.). New York: Weatherhill.
  6. Greenwood, D. (2013). A critical theory of place-conscious education. In R. B. Stevenson, M. Brody, J. Dillon, & A. E. J. Wals (Eds.), International handbook of research on environmental education (pp. 93–100). New York: Routledge. Scholar
  7. Gruenewald, D. A. (2003). The best of both worlds: A critical pedagogy of place. Educational Researcher, 32, 3–12. Scholar
  8. Heidegger, M. (1971). Poetry, language, thought (A. Hofstadter, Trans.). New York: Harper & Row Publishers.Google Scholar
  9. Krakauer, J. (1997). Into the wild (1st ed.). New York: Anchor.Google Scholar
  10. Manulani, A.-M. (2008). Indigenous and authentic: Native Hawaiian epistemology and the triangulation of meaning. In L. Smith, N. Denzin, & Y. Lincoln (Eds.), Handbook of critical and indigenous methodologies (pp. 217–232). London: Sage. Scholar
  11. Milton, J. (2012). Paradise lost. In S. Greenblatt (Ed.), Norton anthology of English literature (9th ed.). New York: W.W. Norton & Company.Google Scholar
  12. Nakagawa, Y. (2000). Education for awakening: An eastern approach to holistic education. Brandon: Foundation for Educational Renewal.Google Scholar
  13. Pollan, M. (2006). The Omnivore’s Dilemma: A natural history of four meals (1st ed.). New York: Penguin Press.Google Scholar
  14. Snyder, G. (2007). Writers and the war against nature. Retrieved 1 August 2015, from
  15. Snyder, G. (2010). The practice of the wild. Berkeley: Counterpoint.Google Scholar
  16. Stephens, D. W., Brown, J. S., & Ydenberg, R. C. (Eds.). (2008). Foraging: Behavior and ecology. Chicago: University of Chicago Press. Scholar
  17. Swimme, B., & Berry, T. (1992). The universe story: From the primordial flaring forth to the Ecozoic Era-The celebration of the unfolding of the cosmos. San Francisco: Harper San Francisco.Google Scholar
  18. Thompson, W. I. (1996). Coming into being: Artifacts and texts in the evolution of consciousness (1st ed.). New York: St. Martin’s Press.Google Scholar
  19. Wilson, E. O. (1984). Biophilia: The human bond with other species. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press. Scholar
  20. Witbeck, C. (1983). A different reality: Feminist ontology. In C. C. Gould (Ed.), Beyond domination (pp. 64–88). Totowa: Rowman and Allenheld.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2020

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Simon Fraser UniversityBurnabyCanada
  2. 2.Faculty of EducationSimon Fraser UniversityBurnabyCanada

Personalised recommendations