I am a forester, Permaculture Design Specialist, first aider, animist, and honest-to-goodness flower child. After graduating with a B.Sc. in Forestry, I ran the largest private tree planting program in Ontario, Canada for five years, then built a successful first aid training business for 15 years.
Missing the tranquility of the forest, I took a course in permaculture design at The Living Centre just outside of London, Ontario. Now as a Permaculture Design Specialist, I educate people about the importance of finding and harvesting the natural foods that are available in nearby woods. Voila! Let’s Eat A Forest was born.
Many years ago, sitting at a large drafting table, staring out at a small municipal airport, I felt unfulfilled. A friend suggesting that I enrol in forestry at the local university. I was intrigued. Fast forward to graduation. I was a Forester! For several years, I taught forestry, did consulting for a paper mill, worked in a greenhouse, and ran a program that put millions of trees in the ground.
Inevitably, the industry ran into trouble. So I started my own successful business teaching first aid. For the next 15 years, it was fulfilling, but then, that industry faltered. Now what? Well, upon serious contemplation, I realized I missed the forest.
A few years ago, I enhanced my education with a permaculture design course, and started my business.
Now I combine forestry with permaculture, guiding people through the woods, showing them perennial edible plants, giving instructions on harvesting responsibly, and blogging about becoming a true forest forager.
In 2016, I was a landscaper and gardener at a large estate just outside of London, Ontario. I had hands-on experience pruning and cutting trees, maintaining a pond, cutting brush as well as lawns, laying sod, planting and transplanting trees.
This experience led to a contract to grow an edible garden in a shaded urban setting. In sandy soil, each of four sites was only 17 x 5 feet, and aesthetic appeal was required. After much remediation and planting, the project blossomed and now is a beautiful, edible landscape with strawberries, fiddleheads, aronia berries, honeysuckle fruit, catmint, daylilies, and violets. Because all of these plants are perennials, they are planted once, pruned once a year, and beautiful throughout.
We acquired more projects in woodlots outside London. Now we harvest rosehips, wild leeks, small but delicious strawberries, violets, summer greens for salads, berries, nuts, and seeds.
WHAT ARE EDIBLES?
I’m sure you’ve heard of fiddleheads. They are the baby fronds of ostrich ferns that grow in the forest. Fried or boiled, with butter or in a salad, they provide wonderful nutrients, variety, and taste to your meals.
You see daylilies growing in many yards and along country roads. They are colourful — and SOME are edible! The petals are rich in micronutrients and minerals, and taste sweet. *Quick warning, though. Only eat plants that you know, that are clean (no pesticides or contaminants), and ALWAYS ask your neighbour before beheading all of their landscape!
My team and I will help educate you on your plant choices, foraging opportunities, and what to plant for your own consumption or to give away. We are different from other permaculture companies — we focus on forests!
*Always ask before eating. Leave the kids at home if they like to put things in their mouths. Some mushrooms and plants look yummy, but can be deadly!