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Feed yourself: 3 ways to boost your food security during the COVID-19 pandemic

Click to play video 'How to increase your food security during the COVID-19 pandemic' How to increase your food security during the COVID-19 pandemic
WATCH ABOVE: With a global pandemic disrupting the grocery supply chain, more people are looking to supply their own food. An internationally-recognized wild food expert shares some ways to put more local food on your table.

With a global pandemic putting pressure on the regular grocery supply chain, more people are thinking about how to make, bake, grow and preserve their own food.

Internationally-recognized wild food guru Kevin Kossowan offers these tips to increase your own food security and give yourself more control over what’s in the cupboard.

Forage it yourself

Kossowan, whose documentary series From the Wild highlights wild food, says there’s something even easier than gardening.

“Learn to get some wild edibles. It’s not difficult,” says Kossowan. “There’s lots and lots of abundance in that space.”

“The greens from wild places will be up earlier than anybody’s annuals this year.”

He offers foraging tours that unearth incredible food variety right in Edmonton city limits.

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“There’s this gap of knowledge, [with people asking]: ‘How do I go outside and engage with the outdoors and there actually be food there?'”

READ MORE: Backyard bounty: Foraging for free flavour in Alberta

Those educational walks are on the menu to begin later this spring, with plans to adapt to health authority recommendations as needed.

Too much of a good thing is good for you

Kossowan has a veritable produce aisle in his backyard: vegetable gardens and fruit trees including apple, pear, cherry and Saskatoon bushes. His cellar is stocked with pulses, canned juice and cider, charcuterie, and preserved wild fruit.

READ MORE: The push to grow more of what we eat in Edmonton

If that’s not you, he says there are lots of people willing to share in the local bounty.

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“The best place to start, in my opinion, is with Operation Fruit Rescue, Kossowan says.

“Become a volunteer and go collect all the free fruit you could possibly want for the year – for free.”

Operation Fruit Rescue Edmonton is a non-profit organization matching homeowners with excess fruit from their own trees with volunteer pickers. Part of the harvest goes to charity.

An email to Global News from the OFRE board reads: “As a food-related charity, OFRE qualifies as an essential service under the province’s current guidelines.

“With proper mitigation strategies, we believe that members of Operation Fruit Rescue will be able to remain safe while accessing the fruit they need to stay healthy.”

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The group is adapting this year’s fruit-picking practices to health guidelines.

Eat with the seasons

Kossowan points to fresh, local food available in Canada, even in colder months – like fish, maple and birch syrup and mushrooms.

“We’ve kind of slowed down on figuring out how to stockpile stuff and expanded our knowledge set on ‘what other cool ingredients are there that – happily – nature brings into the kitchen every week or two?'”

READ MORE: Edmonton filmmaker nominated for award known as ‘Oscar of the food world’

“The more you get educated on procuring food, the more seasonality of food shapes the way you eat, [rather] than preservation of food.”