Archive for July 13, 2017

Foraging expert Robin Harford on eating weeds 

July 13, 2017 Leave a comment

I’ve been teaching on my plant walks for nearly 10 years, that so-called invasive species like Himalayan balsam, Japanese knotweed etc. are simply “second-guessing climate change”. 
That they are here for a reason, and not something that we should be eradicating in some xenophobic campaign of balsam bashing.  

Instead, we need to be figuring out why they are here. 

And aside from a few colleagues, I have been a lone voice speaking up for ‘invasive plants’. 

Recently over the last couple of years a number of writers, permaculture folk and scientists have published books that offer an alternative viewpoint on these outsiders. 

And it makes for uncomfortable reading…  

… especially now the science is increasingly pointing the finger back at humans, and human activity as the cause. Think modern farming practices, dredging, climate change etc. 

Last year I went to talk in North Devon by a fellow called Pete Yeo. Pete runs a wonderful Facebook page called Future Flora and his focus is on understanding ‘invasive plants’, and what we might learn from them. 

As Pete says “What reductionist science would call an opportunist or invader, a more holistic worldview might call a Gaian first responder. Put another way, one person’s weed is another’s wisdom.” 

So a week or so ago, I visited him in his house, and managed to get his views down for posterity.

I discuss with Pete why invasive plants may actually be good for the environment, and whether the science stacks up in favour of balsam bashing? 

Enjoy and talk soon, 

Robin Harford