I need to post a question. What are the parameters for harvesting wild edibles on land that you don’t own? I ask because there is a back road that I often travel. I can’t help but notice that there a scores of elderberries on this stretch. The land is nowhere near any houses. It never appears to be used, mowed, trimmed or otherwise cared for. I have never seen anyone harvest any of the food there. The mushrooms stay on the trees, the elderberries don’t appear to get picked. The raspberries and blackberries stay put and the apples fall off the trees to rot on the ground. None of this lack of harvest is without merit. This forage provides winter food for birds, small animals, bear and deer. I’m not suggesting that anybody strip trees or vines but given the abundance, it’s unlikely that my harvest will affect anything. I am wondering if you feel comfortable harvesting on land with no clear ownership and without “No Trespassing” signs.

I really want those Elderflowers. I want to make some fritters and some wine and my trees don’t produce enough flowers yet. I also want some Yarrow. I found some on a hill on a very lightly traveled road. I have no idea who owns that little hill but I’m not comfortable just digging up a plant, even though Yarrow is one of the herbs that self-seeds and is not at any risk of over harvest.

It’s a small moral issue in a world with so many larger moral issues to be concerned with. But it is just not possible for me to have any impact on the debt ceiling, Greece bailout, wars on multiple fronts, Monsanto and nuclear power plants. I can only manage my small sphere and I want to do the right thing. I now how annoyed I get when people harvest my fiddleheads without asking first.

A small aside. I’m having trouble posting replies here. The computer is not recognizing me and won’t let me post. On my own site. It’s crazy. I can post but I come up with a silly name and the wrong URL. Have patience. I’m working on it.