Wild Eating: Bringing Food Production Back to Nature
In 2012 the Master Gardeners and Garden Club members instructed the urban 4H Club members in planting 18 kinds of native edible trees, shrubs and flowers along and both sides of the trail in a designated area of the low ropes challenge course at Scattering Fork Outdoor Center. Later these boys and girls learned to label and mulch each of the plantings and returned to taste some of wild edibles already growing in that space. This area is virgin woods and grows native species readily. Most of the plantings survived but the drought of June, July, and August makes it necessary to replant some this spring. Our Wild Eating sign on the South side of the trail creates much interest in the plantings from the participants in the low ropes challenge course as they pass by.
The Master Gardeners (40 members) held one of their monthly meetings at SFOC and viewed the Wild Eating area. The SEAGUL (23) class from Mexico Middle School spent a day here and investigated this too. We offered wild jelly tasting as well as recipes for using many leaves, shoots, and blooms at our Annual
Wild Edibles Day in May and Grandparents Day in September. Over 800 participants in the low ropes team challenge course passed by the Wild Eating Area from during the summer and fall. Staff accompanying each group answered questions they had. We have had inquires from Southern and Eastern Missouri about attending our public days and one group from Jackson (4) came last spring.
Work plan for this year:
We ordered and received replacement trees and shrubs and will have them in ground as the area dries out. Three floods this past two months have made anything but clean-up doable. Our public days again this year will feature the Wild Eating area and we will use plants (Dandelions and Lambs Quarter) and fruits (service berry and wild strawberry) as well as blooms (Spring Beauty and Violets) from there to educate those attending on the good taste and health benefits of eating Wild Edibles.