Food foraging in Newtowncashel

Ellie and Milo Poirier Dolan, Jos Kiernan learning about plants during the 'Introduction to Wild Foods Day' organised by the Irish Wildlife Trust branch for Longford/Westmeath.
A large crowd turned out in Newtowncashel last Saturday to participate in an ‘Introduction to Wild Foods’ event facilitated by the Longford/Westmeath branch of the Irish Wildlife Trust.

A large crowd turned out in Newtowncashel last Saturday to participate in an ‘Introduction to Wild Foods’ event facilitated by the Longford/Westmeath branch of the Irish Wildlife Trust.

Food foraging is an activity which has gained enormous popularity in recent years. A quick Internet search brings up thousands of articles from well-known resources, with titles such as ‘Top 10 foods to forage in spring’ and ‘Foraging for wild food: a viable dinner option?’, and it is this current wave of interest which inspired the local branch of the Irish Wildlife Trust (IWT) to arrange the workshop.

“It went great, we had a really good day,” said Tille Schulte Ostermann of the branch’s committee. “We had 19 people taking part. It’s not something that’s often offered so there was great interest.”

During the event, Deborah Evers of Clareville Kitchen Garden in The Burren explored the local area with attendees, providing pointers on what plants, fruits, and nuts are edible, and how and when they can be eaten.

Ms Schulte Ostermann added that the workshop was funded by Longford County Council through the Local Agenda 21 Environmental Partnership Fund, which promotes sustainable development by assisting small-scale environmental projects at local level.

And while the Longford/Westmeath Branch of the IWT is taking a short summer break, Ms Shulte Ostermann says the group organises regular events to educate people about local flora and fauna.

“They could be about bees, plants, bats, or anything else,” she explained. “We have about 10 people on the committee and the events come out of ideas suggested at our meetings. We’re looking at running something in August but it’s not finalised yet.

“We have a Facebook page where we post details of what’s happening, along with photographs, and people can also be added to our mailing list by sending an email to iwtlongfordwestmeath@gmail.com.”