Date of Award
Karen Nordstrom, PhD
invasive species, foraging, wildcrafting, Vermont, food system
Invasive species have permanently altered the world, both socially and ecologically, and the rate of introductions shows no sign of slowing down in the future. In Vermont, foragers are in regular contact with these introduced species and can play an integral role in their removal through the gathering, harvesting, and consumption of edible invasive plants. Through questionnaires to the public, in-depth interviews with foraging experts, and participation in community herb walks and plant harvesting, I explored perspectives on foraging in Vermont and its relation to the collection and consumption of invasive plant species. By interpreting the feedback, responses, and observations gathered, I deciphered emergent ideas and common themes as they relate to foraging for these species. Conversations about our food system cannot, and should not, ignore the growing influence of invasive species on our familiar landscapes. Several themes emerged after thorough analysis and reflection. These themes include: aligning the values of the foraging community with the impact of foraging for invasive species, reframing language and attitudes surrounding these species, understanding our changing world, and capitalizing on benefits and addressing barriers of invasive species foraging. Based on the results of this research, the foraging community of Vermont could be a unique and valuable avenue to use in spreading awareness and knowledge of this movement.
Plummer, Sheridan, "Yes, You Can Eat That: How Communities that Forage in Vermont Interact with Invasive Species" (2019). Environmental Studies Electronic Thesis Collection. 56.