You can use foraging to improve your memory and sharpen your mind, discovering forgotten skills along the way.
As humans, our senses were developed first to assist us in hunting and gathering. Our perception of colour helped us pick the ripest fruit and tell the poisonous from the tastiest berries. The powerful link between smell and memory helped us remember those plants we had eaten safely before, and those we had been taught to fear.
Have you ever used that memory technique, sometimes called “the Memory Palace”, where you use images from a location you remember well – your childhood home perhaps, or waypoints on your walk to work – to create prompts that help you remember a list? That technique was first used with wild plants, and human memory still has a powerful relationship with plants.
If you visit www.langscape.org.uk, you’ll find an archive of ancient documents in which Anglo Saxons recorded the boundaries of their towns and villages by describing a walking route, waymarked by the wild plants which grew at every turn and corner. This is how ancient cultures remembered their landscape: not by drawing maps, but by creating mental routes, joined and punctuated by the trees and herbs which surrounded them. This way of remembering a route works because our minds are made to remember wild plants especially well. Not so long ago the ability to remember the locations of edible and useful plants was essential to survival. As a result, such plants, once learned, hold a unique place in our consciousness.
The powerful human knack for plant-remembering and mental route-planning is begging to be rediscovered. And we can help you with that. On our wild walks and workshops, as well as showing you how to find and forage tasty wild plants, we’ll also show you how to use foraging and its associated skills to expand your mind and memory. The skills you learn in the hedgerow will carry over to every aspect of your life. The wild wood will become your mind palace. The office will become your forest.
Sound good? Join us on a workshop!