The wild herbs search brings us to explore nature, learn basic knowledge about some local plants and share intercultural aspects (like names, myths, uses and stories) about wild herbs. It can be the first step to introduce the topic. A further activity can be a simple cooking workshop with wild herbs.
What are the goals of the activity
We are going to look for edible wild herbs in the surrounding area.
We want to recognize and pick some of these, get to know them closer.
Share knowledge and tell stories about the herbs.
If possible give space to “intercultural” aspects about wild herbs:
names in other languages, traditional uses, stories.
(Further activity resulting from this first workshop can be the preparation of a common meal with the herbs and sharing together the fresh flavours of wild plants.)
Who can take part
Open to different target groups. Please get information in advance about the group joining the activity.
Possible groups can be:
adults, such as neighborhood groups; women groups.
children: f.e school groups;
young people: f.e. teenagers; students groups.;
mixed group: adults and children.
Language knowledge needed – if not available then the activity can be helped through translation + pictures + simple practical actions.
Some questions about the target group can be:
interest and motivation (do they come spontaneously, do they come as part of obligatory activity?)
what would they like to do? More theory or practice?
are there different languages/ different language knowledge and levels?
which is their daily life and context? Which can be their relation to the topic, in this case wild herb?
! In each environment watch out for pollution sources, such as streets, cars, garbage.
Pick only healthy herbs and watch out for dogs feces.
What do you need
Basic knowledge about approximately 10-12 plants.
Check out the place in advance in order to know which wild edible plants are growing there and where about. Know your target group. What need do they have? What expectations? What are the goals of your activity?
Prepare boards with wild plants examples and pictures.
In case there are not so many wild herbs but there is a garden, then you can also adapt the method to GARDEN herbs.
In case you would like to complete the workshop with common preparation of a meal, you will also need: Access to drinking water for washing the plants, bowls, dishes, cutlery, some kitchen basics for preparing and eating the herbs, and some more ingredients for eating not only herbs :-)
Content input - reflections
Wild herbs have been used since ages all over the world. They are food and medicine at the same time. They can represent a form of self-sustainment with high quality nutrition.
We can learn which are edible wild herbs growing locally in our place. Going for herbs can bring us on the path again: walking into (city) nature, awakening attention for the surroundings, becoming more and more curious about plants! For some people this is also a way to reconnect with past habits and experience they had in their former (home) countries. Or to reconnect with old stories and knowledge, maybe with the grandmas and grandpas collecting wild herbs. This can also be an inspiration for putting together an intercultural international atlas of wild herbs – using different names for the same plant and sharing recipes.
Arrival and warm up
The facilitator presents themselves and says short information about the activity of the day.
We form a circle – small warm-up and name circle.
Possible question for the warm-up can be: “Do you know a (wild) herb and which one is your favourite?”
Second part: search in small groups
We get organised in small groups (2-3 persons), each group receives a piece of the plant to look for in the surrounding area.
Each group also receives a board with some pictures of the plant (e.g. plant in different stages; leaves, blooming, seeds).
The groups have to:
find a spot in the surrounding where the plant is growing;
observations: how do the leaves look like? are there flowers? Can you smell the plant?
they can also answer these questions:
Do you know the name of the herb? (in different languages of the participants)
Can you draw some elements of the plant (leaves, stem, colour)?
If the plant could talk or be a character, which character would it be? Which personality? Make a drawing or use a symbol.
Which uses do you know of this plant? (tea, soup, medicine, salad, syrup, skin, …)
Third part: Sharing in the group and create a common board
After ca 15 minutes of search and time for the questions, we come together in a circle and each group shows what they have found.
We create common knowledge about the plants – the workshop trainer can add information about the plants, by showing each board and giving input in case the participants are quite new with the topic.
The participants can create a common board including all the plants they found.
Fourth part (optional): preparing a meal
Afterward we can wash the plants and each group prepares them carefully.
A good idea is to prepare a wild herb pesto with the herbs and a salad, have some bread and share!