Totally Wild UK are on a mission to bring the art of foraging up to date through the development of a rigorous and well thought through frame work that works in the interest of all parties involved, from land managers to foragers, wholesalers, restaurants and retail. Our wild spaces are abundant in resources and we are trying to add growing value to our wild spaces in order to promote the requirement to keep these spaces.
Sustainability and professionalism sit at the heart of what we do, therefore we have put together this manifesto to outline our view and objectives on this matter and to shed some light on how we operate.
1.1 TWUK sees foraging playing an increasingly important role supporting, promoting and defending the health of all plants, fungi, algae, animals (including humans) and the habitats/environments in which they exist.
1.2 TWUK recognises the ecological interconnectivity of all species and seeks to spread knowledge, understanding and best foraging practice in a move towards more diverse and resilient food systems and land use.
1.3 We see humans as ‘a part of nature’ rather than ‘apart from nature’ and believe that it is only through engaging with nature in practical and meaningful ways that we can truly support it.
- Towards Best Foraging Practice
2.1 TWUK share the same objective of Article 1 of the internationally ratified Convention on Biodiversity (1992):
“The conservation of biological diversity, the sustainable use of its components and the fair and equitable sharing of the benefits arising out of the utilisation of genetic resources’.
2.2 In so doing, we work safely and within the law to develop knowledge and relationships between all interested parties to find best foraging practice through shared experience, research and collaboration.
2.3 We undertake to observe how species respond to harvesting methods. Where a harvesting method is beneficial or neutral to a species and/or location we will share that knowledge among interested parties. Similarly, in the event of a harvesting technique proving detrimental to a species and/or location, we will alter our practice accordingly and share that knowledge among interested parties.
2.4 As our understanding of best practice about species and locations is constantly evolving, so will this document. We welcome constructive, evidence-based discussion and dialogue on general principles, specific species and distinct locations with all interested parties.
3.1 Our Foragers teach that it is essential to be 100% confident of identification before eating any species. If we are not sure ourselves, we are not afraid to admit it honestly and err on the side of safety.
3.2 We take reasonable measures to understand and pass on relevant information on species edibility and allergy advice, to interested parties.
3.2 TWUK will never supply anything that we are not 100% confident is correctly identified and, is regarded within current research, as safe to consume. (details contained on produce spec forms)
3.3 TWUK does its best to be well informed on current best practice and any peer reviewed science relating to our activities, and welcome research and experience-based opinion.
- Legality and Compliance
4.1 We uphold the laws of the land that we forage in regardless of which country we are in and undertake to know and abide by the relevant laws of the country we are foraging in.
4.2 TWUK instructors undertake to act with a reasonable duty of care to those they teach. TWUK instructors are either fully accredited or going through their L3 Ofqual accreditation. Our accreditation is the industry benchmark and the only one of its kind in the world. Our instructors have relevant, appropriate insurance, first aid and food hygiene certification, perform risk-assessments, and make themselves aware of client’s allergies, medical conditions etc.
4.3 TWUK undertake to uphold the law as it applies to foods. For example, where applicable, to hold the relevant food hygiene certificates for handling or catering and to carry public liability and professional indemnity insurance ad prepare risk assessments.
- Considerate Foraging
5.1 We teach that the interests of foragers and the species that they forage are aligned, and that foraging should always be carried out in ways that do not compromise future species populations or the biological communities of which they are a part.
5.2 Further to ecological considerations, when foraging or teaching about foraging, we also consider other interested parties (including public foragers) that may value a species/location. Where possible we seek to open dialogue, collaborate and advance our understanding of species/locations, with a view to finding best practice.
5.3 TWUK supports the creation of site-specific management plans and harvesting rotations, where appropriate.
5.4 We undertake that all species will be harvested using techniques that do not cause permanent or irrevocable damage to them, their future survival and the environments in which they exist
5.5 TWUK will be respectful, encouraging and supportive of other members and anyone practicing foraging.
5.6 Where TWUK see foraging practices that they know from experience and scientific research to be harmful, they will respectfully challenge that behaviour through discussion and dialogue and raise concerns with the necessary parties deemed necessary.
5.7 TWUK will treat other land operators with respect. Where we share a common public space, our activities many bring us into competition with each other, and where we overlap, we will do so with consideration for one another’s livelihoods.
6.1 TWUK will endeavour to not pick more than 40% of any given species on a single site (typically it is considerably less) and this figure changes from species to species dependent on a number of factors; including growth cycle, longevity and availability.
6.2 TWUK will access land using suitable routes, following roads and agreed bi-roads. We will not leave well driven roads unless previously agreed with the land owner. If leaving main roads TWUK will make sure to use appropriate vehicles for the terrain being driven on and will only drive in appropriate weather conditions.
Typically, we won’t access land on:
- Anything over an amber weather warning – MET
- Wind speeds above 60MPH
6.3 When harvesting, TWUK foragers will wear a high visibility vest and when cold a high visibility hat. This is important so that any other on-site operators can see our staff.
6.4 TWUK will produce a risk assessment and harvesting procedure for each item we pick.
6.5 All TWUK staff will never leave any debris or rubbish on site, in fact we make a point to remove any rubbish we see on site every time we visit.
6.6 A list of all items harvested, amounts and locations are documented, TWUK are happy to share these details as and where appropriate with any parties necessary providing parties with a developing amount of data that can be added to base line assessments for specific sites and can be used to make future projections and alter practices where necessary.
6.7 TWUK will never uproot any plants unless previously agreed with the land owner.
6.8 TWUK are actively looking to collaborate with other organisations in research and development, our staff are often on site more than other organisation staff and we ask these organisations to utilise this. For example, specific bird species are being recorded on a site, if our staff are trained in the correct identification of these species, they can aid in compiling data on the amount these birds are seen. Similarly, this can be done with fungi species, tree infection or damage and even unlawful creation of campsites and fire pits etc. We invite you to use us as another resource.