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