Personal Harvesting Ethics
Personal Harvesting Ethics
Everyone has their own set of ethics when it comes to wild harvesting. These are mine.

My house stands in the middle of a wildlife trail. It is a trail that has existed for a long time and the animals (except for the elk) have adjusted to the house and my presence.

For the most part, I try to ignore the wildlife and give it space.

Living on a wildlife trail for 7-years has given me the opportunity to see and appreciate wildlife acting wild. I have watched romping bear cubs become aggressive mamas and observed the Ponderosa Pines up and down the trail slowly die from what-I-do-not-know.

Observing the natural world, it’s comings and goings is alternately uplifting and hard on the heart – aggressive mama bears don’t survive around humans. What I’ve learned is that every bit of life on this planet goes through a lot, even just to complete a 24-hour lifecycle.

It’s humbling to think that an insect with an arduous three-week lifespan does more for the planet and the beings around it than one human does in a lifetime.

Having witnessed the impact of one house one a piece of land, I have created personal wildcrafting and cultivating rules for myself.

Wildcrafting: • Don’t invade. When it comes to harvest, put non humans first.

• Let wild things have their wild things. Let the insects and the deer and whatever else, be done with the wild things before harvest.

•Don’t harvest an insect’s home, it took a bit for them to find just the right space that wasn’t already occupied. Let the bees take their fill of the late autumn flowers that can mean life or death. Being an insect is super perilous as it is.

• The growing site that determines a plant’s chemical make up, not the species name. The Yarrow (insert greek name) that grows in the UK does not often contain chamzulene – the precursor to azulene.

• If healing is the goal, let others heal. Look around at the trees. Are they healthy? Are they leaning? Are they reaching toward each other? The trees and birds are an immediate tell as to what kind of land you’re on. If you’re in an area that needs to heal, walk away and let the place be. If beauty is the goal, leave nature alone entirely.

• Harvest with clean tools. Keep the tools put away in their own space.

•Leave nothing, including an offering. Even an apple. An ideal offering is to remove litter.

• Harvest enough and only a bit. Let the non human life enjoy the bumper crop.

Cultivating botanicals:

• Don’t colonize. If there’s stuff on the land that works better for the pollinators, leave it for them.

• Amend with intention and without plastic.

•Grow with an intent. Cultivation = water use.

•Honor the life you made.