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Foraging for Greens

There was a time when I could look at the ground and only see grass. Everything green was either grass or a weed, and I didn’t think much farther than that. The thing is that once you know something, it becomes part of your existence, and suddenly chickweed is chickweed, yarrow is yarrow, and grass becomes just a singular part of a whole itemized collection.

Though we’re accustomed to seeing a beautiful lawn as one with a singular green hue, once you’ve developed an eye for a handful of native plants, you’ll begin to see a monocrop of grass as mundane and tiresome. A lawn once considered to be ‘weedy’ is now a treasure trove of medicinal morsels and salad greens, even a food source for pollinators. That spring mix we’re now paying obscene amounts for in the local store, well, other than the lettuce leaves, those greens grow in your lawn and are often overlooked as weeds.

Nature is brilliant in that after a long respite in our homes for the coldest, darkest months, where we’ve been eating rich, warming foods, there are suddenly little sprouts of green growing beyond our front step, bitter enough to increase the flow of our digestive enzymes, ready to clear the body and give us a fresh start after a long winter. These gentle plants are true supporters of whole health, and mother nature has been planting them right in our luscious lawns all this time.

If you are new to foraging, here are a few tips to get you going:

1. Always cross reference and verify your plant with 3 different sources to be certain you’ve correctly identified your plant.

2. Begin with just a few at a time. You don’t need to identify every
plant in your environment, just a handful you’ll find useful
(maybe some chicory, dandelion greens, and plantain are a
good place to start!)

3. Only seek plants from places you know are unsprayed.

4. As you begin to learn to identify more and more plants, it helps
to make a mental or a journalled reminder (a reminder in your
phone works too), as to when your plant appeared on the
seasonal timeline so that you can anticipate its bloom in the
coming years.

Jacquelyn Toupin is a birthkeeper & intuitive healer supporting women to evolve into their truest selves. You can follow along on her Instagram @the.art.of.mothering