Eat Here Now, at its core, is a manifesto. This manifesto—centered around the age old practice of harvesting, preparing, and consuming nature’s wild larder—is one of living in close connection to our place in the world. Through food, drink, and medicine, wild plants (and organisms) offer some of the most nutritious, flavorful, and cost-effective (read: FREE) goodies available. In the day and age of an industrial food & agriculture system, a systemically faltered gastronomy, and a paramount lack of ecological literacy, we at Eat Here Now tread a different path around all of this. & That path follows wild foods.
The idea driving Eat Here Now is that anyone can remember how to identify, harvest and store away the myriad of seasonal foods available in the wild; that you too can become a forager. Our mission is guided by a concept known as participatory ecology—the active integration of people and nature in a way that fosters a deep sense of awareness and connection to ecology in our daily lives. We want our course participants to see nature not as a museum that needs to be preserved and curated, but as a dance that needs to be learned, the natural systems that surround us being daily reminders of where to get dance lessons. In this way, Eat Here Now uses wild food education as a gateway into and a fulcrum of, a life in tune with the cycles, processes and wonders of the natural world.
How Eat Here Now Works
What is “Wild Food”?
In the dialogue of Eat Here Now the words wild food carry three particular connotations:
- Plants & Plant Yields: greens, shoots, roots, flowers, seeds, nuts, and fruits, harvested from wild settings—from lawns, to meadows, to swamps, to weedy edges of gardens or farm fields. Any “technically” uncultivated plant part, in our books, is considered a wild food.
- Wild Fermentation: cultures of bacteria and yeast that ferment wine, cider, beer, fermented legumes (miso), vegetables (sauerkraut), dairy products (yougrt, kefir), and other various foods fermented using wild cultures.
- Medicine: maybe you’ve heard the almost cliche Hippocrates quote, “Let thy food be thy medicine and thy medicine be thy food.”? It’s too truthful not to use it… More to the point, wild foods are for the majority very nutritious (more nutritious than most cultivated foods) and inherently supportive of health. But we are also concerned with the process of harvesting and preparing medicine from wild plants. From time to time, we will discuss the many ways we use wild plants as medicine in our daily life.
Eat Here Now is the brainchild of Mark Angelini. He has been infatuated—maybe obsessed—with the idea of eating seasonally available, locally grown and harvested foods for many years. He works as an ecological designer, tinkering with food and living systems to find synergies that support community resilience. All the while, he has been out in his local ecosystems befriending wild food plants and harvesting, cooking, and storing away their bountiful yields. He experiments widely, culturing vegetables, dairy, making ciders, meads, and wines, and other such fermented treats. He is endlessly excited by the promise of consuming wild food as a serious counterpart to farming and gardening, using it in both traditional and innovative recipes. Mark enjoys experimenting with his harvests, figuring out ways to communicate the goodness of nature’s abundance through tastebuds.
Mark is also a student of gardening, botany, ecology, food systems, herbalism, perennial agriculture, forests, wood working and agrecology. His work has taken him to the Hudson Valley of New York and back all the way through to northwest Michigan. He is an organic gardener, food forester, rainwater catcher, and conservationist. He lives and works in southeast Michigan. Learn more about his work at Roots to Fruits Ecological Design & Alchemy Ecology