Foraging in the British Isles is an increasingly popular activity for both personal consumption and for commercial purposes. While legislation and guidelines exist regulating the sustainable collection of wild edibles, the founding principles of the British foraging movement are not well documented. For this research, 36 of the most active foraging instructors of the Association of Foragers were interviewed to understand their background, species collected, sources of knowledge, and problems faced during collection. Altogether, 102 species of leafy vegetables, fruits, fungi, and seaweeds were mentioned as frequently used, while 34 species of roadkill animals were listed, mostly for personal consumption. Instructors reported learning from wild food guidebooks, other foragers, or personal experience. Frequent contact among foragers has led to the standardisation of knowledge and practices among them forming a “new tradition”, partly based on old British traditions but modified by influences from other countries and cultures, both in terms of choice of species and processing techniques. Contrary to expectations, foragers rarely reported clashes with nature conservation or forestry managers. The authors argue that knowledge and practice developed by the Association of Foragers (AoF) are sustainable and could be integrated into the British food and nature conservation system.
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