Harvesting Guidelines

There are some cautions and ethical considerations that you should be aware of when harvesting wild plants:

  • Be sure that you can positively identify the plants that you intend to harvest.  Most wild foods are easily recognized and difficult to mistake for others.  This is not the case, however, with members of the parsley family, some of our most poisonous plants.
  •  Be sure the plants you are gathering are not a protected species.
  • Gather only plants that are abundant in that area.  Be conscientious about leaving a healthy population behind.
  • Be sure the plants you intend to harvest have not been sprayed with pesticides, herbicides, or fertilizers.  Be especially aware of this around the edges of farm fields, roadsides, parks, and lawns, or near industrial activity.
  • Gather on private land only after receiving permission from the owner.
  • Be sure to wear protective clothing if you will be exposed to poison ivy, nettles, or wild parsnip.  Be sure you can positively identify these powerful skin irritants.  Wild parsnip is very prolific in fields, meadows and roadsides in the Upper Midwest and can cause severe skin rashes.
  • Gather only what you will use.
  • Remember to be thankful for your harvest.  Plants are truly a gift to us from God, the Creator of the heavens and the earth,  and deserve to be treated with care and respect.