How foraging for food can bring kids closer to nature

This age-old practice has mental health benefits—and might help picky eaters try new things.

When 16-year-old Violet Brill looks out her window, she doesn’t see only grass and trees—she sees a whole feast. Her father, legendary plant expert Steve “Wildman” Brill, introduced her to the world of wild edibles as a baby, toting her along on his foraging tours from the time she was just two months old.

“I just started picking it up,” Violet says, “kind of like the way kids learn to recognize celery and carrots.”

Until the advent of agriculture about 12,000 years ago, our hunter-gather ancestors relied upon wild vegetation for nutrition and medicine. In the millennia that followed, farms and grocery stores replaced that primal knowledge. But in the past decade or so, a renewed interest in foraging for edible plants has begun to emerge—an interest that has truly blossomed during the pandemic.

Read This Next

Flower power: Combining science and art to get kids exploring
Science experiments that will make your kids’ curiosity bloom
How to raise a volunteer scientist