As many here have gardens, or at least potted plants, I was wondering the other day; Why not take advantage of the biggest garden around? Mother nature abounds in pure, wholesome foods, and all we have to do is step outside and receive it. And not just berries or nuts either. From the humble blue violet crawling along your walk-way to the wild rice growing along the fence next to a field, nature is showering us with plenty of extra food stuffs.
And they are all for free, once you can identify what they are without risking your health. And while it may cost some to have guided tours of your area to teach you where and what plants you have nearby, there are plenty of books at public libraries that will tell you how and when to harvest for the best plant, how to cook and store your newfound bounty, and how to transplant wild foods into your own garden so you don't have to forage so for and long. And you don't have to go solo on the classes, bring the whole family along. Kids love to explore, and are very curious about the natural world. And once you are familiar with the plants of your area, it is free entertainment that will add to your money, not deplete it.
However, a word of caution: field books and guides are good supplements to what you can learn, but always seek professional botanists from whom you can go into the field and study with, there are many poisonous look-a-likes out there, and one wrong plant (or one wrong part, or cooked wrong) is all it takes for very serious injury or death. Ask about tours at your library or city hall I believe. If anyone has more info on how to get tours, please comment and let me know.
Source: I was talking to one of my aunts about her garden, and I asked her where she got one of her plants and she told me she found it while taking a walk one day, and she remembered eating it when she was younger. My grandparents had about 14 mouths to feed, so they made use of very free source of food. I also checked out as many books about wild food as I could from my public library, and I am hoping to go on guided tours next year.
By Krystal from Newton, IA