A mature oak can produce twenty-nine thousand acorns a year. Each has the chance to sustain our people, heal the world some, and spread where it can.

Friday, May 7, 2010

Wild/Local Food Challenge!

My partner has been suggesting that I do some posts about more physical things, such as step-by-step tutorials and updates about my own projects and activities. After all, telling people why they need to live sustainably and in free feral groups just doesn't cut it if you can't at least give hints on how to do so. Granted, there are a lot of other places to get that information, and I'm glad to link to them as well.

So I'm finally taking her advice, since I decided to take it upon myself to see if I'm up to the challenge of eating nothing but wild and locally grown/raised foods. I had been talking about transitioning to such a diet for awhile now (actually since forever, but moreso recently, given all the stories about GMO crops causing organ damage and food contamination, not to mention rising food costs), but what pushed me to do start it was the fortuitous boon of two deer split between myself and a friend/co-worker. Given that one of the deer was huge, we each have a huge stock of wild meat as a buffer, in case our hunting, fishing, gardening, and gathering come up short. I'd also been inspired a bit by an acquaintance of mine out west who had seen if she could go a week on wild foods (see her blog here), and who gave me some great advice on my Facebook.

As a practical skill set, this is probably one of the biggest things on peoples' minds. Food keeps us alive, and growing up going to the grocery store leaves a lot of us doubting that adequate food can be procured through hunting, fishing, trapping, foraging, and gardening. It seems silly given the multitude of methods I just said, even being as broad as that. Simply knowing that another person is doing this is probably inspiring for some people, so I hope I can last awhile!

These are the rules I set out on my Facebook:

All food and drink is wild or locally grown/raised. The exception is coffee with cream (but no sugar; gross!), since I'm far too addicted to drop that cold turkey.

All of it needs to be found, given, grown, or traded. No buying. This aspect is partially a test of how functional our gift economies are.

Spices and flavorings are allowed, but only if they are non-caloric additions to the diet, since part of the goal is to see if I can meet my nutritional needs. So for example, things like sea salt, fish sauce, vinegar, and cayenne pepper are okay, but things like onions need to be found wild or from the garden.

I'll need to make some changes to my general lifestyle and the way I plan my days. I don't yet hunt, but I intend to by the end of the month. Otherwise, I once again wasted money on a permit and tags. I also need to set aside more/better time for fishing, and get around to finally processing the five gallons of acorns I have sitting around (though I'm partially scared to find out just how many of them went moldy). I should likely also get my trapping permit and do some of that, as well.

Today is the second day of this challenge, and so far I'm going strong. I started off yesterday with venison liver, thinly sliced and cooked in a bit of lard. Lunch was peppered venison steak with a wild green salad (mostly me munching on dandelion leaves, plantain leaves, and a bit of sourgrass), and a dinner of more wild greens. I passed out early so I wasn't all that hungry. As I write this I'm sitting down to my lunch of a wild green curry with thin slices of venison. The greens are cattail shoots, wild mustard leaves and flowers, and the shoots and leaves of young milkweed. It's pretty awesome, and the leftover will probably be my lunch tomorrow as well.

Now I think I'll go find myself a nice patch of wintergreen, because I've been craving fruit. Maybe it's seeing all those wild blueberry bushes in bloom, knowing that those many white and pink flowers mean many many blueberries this summer.

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At May 7, 2010 at 3:37 PM , Blogger Nancy said...

You can do it!! My bet is you can make it to November 1st, 2010. Good Luck!

At May 7, 2010 at 3:40 PM , Blogger 29,000 Acorns said...

Wow, you have more faith in me than my fiancee does. She said 2.5 weeks. Of course, my older brother said indefinitely if I have the willpower. I feel like if I can make it to November 1st, I'll make it forever.

At May 8, 2010 at 6:20 AM , Anonymous Coleus said...

Hey, an update! Bravo.

At May 11, 2010 at 1:03 PM , Blogger Gabe Shaddy-Farnsworth said...

kudos to you for this attempt! regardless of how long you actually last on this diet both your body and your landbase will thank you for the effort. also, i think allowing non-wild/local spices at first is a wise move. this dietary switch is a big step (or it has been for me as i've moved towards this type of diet myself) and one of the trickiest things (besides breaking the addiction to crack...i mean sugar) in my experience has been developing an appreciation for different/a broader variety of tastes from bitter, to acrid, to gamey, to grassy and so on. i can say, however, that the last truly ALL WILD feast i had (no garden crops, spices, or nothin') tasted excellent! See Emily's blog post about it to check out our spread. http://trackerofplants.com/2009/11/27/best-thanksgiving-ever-sorry-mom/

good luck on this adventure and i look forward to hearing updates on how it's going for you!


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Twenty-Nine Thousand Acorns by Daniel Q is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 3.0 United States License. Photoshop Tree Brushes created by Obsidian Dawn. Photoshop custom dandelion shape created by MyMimi. "Broken Acorns" photograph in banner taken by modcam. Layout by Kris.