Eating weeds might be the trendy thing to do and talk about at the moment amongst frugal living, self-sufficiency, survivalists, preppers, hippies, raw foodies, and organic gardeners but I really question the effort in opening the subject up to the wider community.
With obesity becoming the number 1 threat to world health and dietary related diseases escalating dramatically in the Western World, you’d think we would be preaching the basics of healthy eating rather than confusing people with what weeds you can and can’t eat along your back fence line.
Dandelion and grass are both totally edible – Mmm…Mmm (image above)
In this modern age, there’s too much focus on shock jock information always trying to disseminate the next “bet you didn’t know that” story to the masses instead of keeping the message simple.
I watched a video today on YouTube from a prominent gardener who has a huge subscriber following. His video was about 5 weeds you can eat and for the most part I found it very interesting and I totally understood the underlining message; however, there was something else that grated on me and that was the practicality.
See, the video was portrayed as, “something I bet you didn’t know,” and “if you’re not eating these plants then you’re really missing out!”
But then, throughout the video were warnings about being careful to identify weeds you can eat and the ones you can’t otherwise you could be poisoned etc, etc… So, on one hand they were telling people there’s nothing wrong with eating weeds and on the other hand they inadvertently showed why weed eating isn’t common place.
Furthermore, most of the weeds they showcased tasted ordinary – by their own accounts! It reminded me of the Crocodile Dundee movie when he said, “Well, you can eat it but it tastes like shit.” Really, if you want to go extreme why not keep your lawn instead of building a vegetable garden because all grass is edible too! Think of all the things one could do with a full edible lawn? Smoothies, grass sandwiches, or just eaten fresh from the lawn mower catcher – who needs a cow?
Which takes me to my point: why waste valuable garden space to grow a weed when you could just as easily grow a wonderful food plant? I’m not talking about harvesting wild berries along the English countryside here – I mean, these are rubbish plants and whilst they may be “full of nutrients” and “edible,” so is broccoli!
Anyway, in the comments section under the video on Youtube I thought I would write this point (in a polite way) it went something along the lines of, “I enjoyed your video but eating weeds is not for me and I’d rather eat a nice crisp lettuce over a thistle any day.”
Well… Did I get the third degree from some weed loving maniac troll accusing me of causing all the world’s problems? To be honest, I stopped reading his essay long comment (about mine) when he started personally attacking me; however, his first sentence stated how all common vegetables you see in the supermarket were once weeds.
Yeah I get the evolution of vegetables, although, that is such a long cucumber to draw! I’d rather avid food gardeners promoted or unearthed all the thousands of different fruit and vegetables we haven’t tried yet instead of munching on tasteless greenery scattering the countryside (probably already sprayed with Glyphosate by some farmer).
And, yes I understand that there are edible plants all around us and one day things might get so bad we all start eating them… If that day does come, I’ll be sure to revisit the video about edible weeds and all the other media following the same trend to ensure I don’t die of starvation.
For now though, I’m going to weed whack, whipper snip, pull out, hoe in, compost, and feed to the chickens all of my edible weeds! At the same time, I’ll be growing all my conventional crops of fresh goodies proven and developed over thousands of years; plus, seeking out new fruits and vegetables to grow, which I haven’t tried yet.
At the end of the day, good on those people who like eating weeds and revel in a true survivalist or extremely frugal (almost scavenging) type of lifestyle. However, please understand my point of view and also realise I’m simply being honest when I say eating weeds is not for me.
Mark Valencia – Editor SSM
You don’t have to be self-sufficient in everything… Just be self-sufficient in something; and
Look, and see the Earth through her eyes…