Saturday, May 14, 2011

Foraging Ethics

I have a secret cattail grove. I'm not telling you where it is. But, our area hasn't seen any precipitation since 2010 and plant life is not flourishing right now. But my cattail grove is doing fine because its spring fed. As I harvested last night at the grove I wondered if I could do some transplanting of cattails further up stream. I'm posting this because I'm not sure about the ethics of transplanting. I mean, at what point does foraged food become harvested/cultivated food? And if nature hadn't already moved the cattails upstream, what makes me think I should. Just a question I'm pondering because I could up my production. But what would that do to the other flora? And would there be an impact on fauna?


SharleneT said...

Cattails can take over a whole wetland area. They absolutely need the bogginess of constant wetness around the roots. But, they can also be spread by dividing the rhizomes. I can't imagine there'd be a problem with you dividing and planting more elsewhere because they'd do it naturally. That they haven't would be my big question. Why? Is there not enough water? They have a tendency to take over areas and push out other less vigorous plants, so I'd wonder about this. And, of course, whether or not the land is specifically protected.

Now, if your cache hasn't spread because it hit a dry barrier and you can transplant some to another wet section, that should take care of it, I would think.

Let us know what happens!

Tri2Cook said...

Can't help with the moral dilema other than to say that I agree pretty much with what Sharlene said.

I think the work you're doing with foraged local ingredients is awesome. I haven't done much with cattails but figuring out how to get more is the least of the worries here. I'm pretty much surrounded by water which is pretty much surrounded by cattails.

I've been trying to connect with some of the older aboriginal people to learn more about foraging locally and traditional cooking in this area but it's proving to be more difficult to find someone interested in working with me than I expected.