How Foraging can Save the World


May 28th, 2022

presentation at East Fork Pottery, June 16th

Foraging means much more than gathering wild food. It means going back to hunter-gatherer culture. Hunter-gatherer culture can save the world. In fact, it’s the only thing that can.

What replaced hunter-gatherer culture is civilization. Understanding the difference between civilization and hunter-gatherer culture starts with one question: do we have to grow food or does food grow itself?

The way civilization grows food is called agriculture. Agriculture is an aggro culture. You remove what is there and replace it with what you want. Foraging, on the other hand, means taking life as it comes. It means partnering with nature, not dominating it.

Civilization is about control. To control, you have to dominate. You have to force nature and other people to do what you want. Hunter-gatherers know that force is unnecessary. In fact, it’s counterproductive.

When force is unnecessary, it’s violence. Civilization is based on violence. To forage, for example, means “to pillage.” This is how civilized people hunt and gather. Hunter-gatherers don’t hunt or gather that way.

Most of us don’t hunt or gather. We participate in The System, a network of domination, a.k.a., enslavement. The word dominate comes from domus, meaning “household,” dominion of the father, while the word family comes from famulus, meaning “slave.”

When we go back to hunter-gatherer culture, we see that there is no need for force. If we simply share, there is enough for everyone, even eight billion of us. Before agriculture, life was easy. It could be even easier now. It’s not too late, and it’s never too late, because this big system, the way a hunter-gatherer sees it, is one big dream.

When you know you’re dreaming, you don’t take life so seriously. You know everything can change in an instant. You don’t struggle, compete, or kill people because you think you have to.

Civilization has turned the dream of life into a nightmare. It replaced a world of abundance, cooperation, and love with one of scarcity, competition, and fear. This fear makes us see others as enemies. It creates “us and them.” War, climate change, even pandemics all stem from this one misunderstanding.

Foraging, on the other hand, teaches what religion has always preached: we are not separate. We are one universal system. And this system has enough for everyone.

The only way to save the world is to get past our fear of “not enough.” We get past that fear when we see the world as it truly is. We see that we are all in this together. We are always on the same side.

We live surrounded by unimaginable abundance, not just of food. Civilization is a sinking ship, and we’re all running for the lifeboats. What if we knew the water is only three feet deep?

Learn what foraging really means. Take the step that can change not only your life but the course of life on Earth. We may have left The Garden, but The Garden has never left us.

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