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Flora Foragers

December 3rd, 2021

Flora Foragers:

Reconnectiong with the wild and our ancient roots.

The Art of Foraging

Foraging is a beautiful way to connect with nature, to ground and centre yourself and step away from the busy rush of everyday life.

Foraging is an ancient practise that our ancestors carried for survival purposes, but with everything we need at our fingertips, it has become a recreational activity that acts as a form of escapism that also enables us to collect, own and admire natures gems
. . . for free.

This blog outlines why more of us should forage, how to forage effectively without impacting Papatūānuku (Mother Earth), and how to care for foraged gems.

“Hunter-gathers, by nature, store information for use, understanding that there may be a time when information is scarce.”


75% of New Zealand’s population live in major urban centres with limited access to native ecosystems and landscapes. This is signifcantly impacting our mental and physical health and it also means our surroundings aren’t as rich and beautiful with flora and fauna as they once were.

Every human needs escapism. We live in a world dictated by concrete and tarmac centres, built by an economy that is fast paced and doesn’t place value on our native and natural environment. This is where the issue lies. We as humans, and like all other species on earth, evolved with the natural environment and in turn it provided us with resources, shelter and a healthy body and mind.

The term for our innate human instinct to connect with nature and other living beings is called ‘Biophillia’. Biophilic studies have proven that humans interaction with nature supports cognitive function, physical health, and psychological well-being. In simple terms it has been proven that humans who live immersed in nature have less health problems and even less mental health disorders (excluding those that are biological). This has been recognised in New Zealand as exhbited by the Wellington Botanice Gardens which are soley financed, not from the ecology or biodiversity fund, but from the mental health fund.


Foraging is one of the ways we can connect back to nature. For those of us who don’t like pointlessly walking or don’t have a reason to make the time to travel outside of town/city centres, foraging provides the perfect incentive to immerse ourselves in the wild.

It is an acitivity that can be done alone or with friends and it creates an opportunity to collect natures gems and treasures that:

- Add to the beauty of our homes
- Provides craft and hands-on making opportunities
- Creates the opportunity to collect plants and seedlings for our outdoor spaces.

Foraging enables us to bring the wild into our concrete jungles and homes.

Foraging Fairly

Forgaging is an art that needs to be carried out with the upmost respect for Papatūānuku herself. There is a fine line between a forager and a scavenger. Scavangers take whatever they can find and don’t pay any attention to the state in which they leave things.
A forager on the other hand, takes things with care and intent.



  1. Only forage in public places or private land you have been granted permission to forgage on, don’t confuse being a forager with being a theif.

  2. Take as little as necessary, not as much as possible - when you take leaves, stems, flowers or seeds you are impacting a plants ability to grow and thrive. Ensure you only take small amounts so that a) the plant continues to thrive b) the ecosystem looks unchanged. Minimising the state and beauty of a place means you are no longer a forager.

  3. Be a Guardian of the environment. Being a forager comes with responsibility. If you are foraging with others or you see others foraging, share your knowledge and be a proactive part of limiting others destruction. The ecosystems we forage from provides nutrients and shelter for other species and this must be protected.

A few tips:

  • Most people think drying plants involves haninging them up upside down when in actuality the best way to dry flowers and foliage is by sitting them in a vase or jar with a few cms of water in them. This allows the plant to dry out slowly and naturally, decreasing the amount of ‘shriveldge’ that happens in the petals or leaves.

  • Plants with woody stems dry well, plants with green stems shrivel up and die. Only take flowers and plants with woody stems as they are the ones that dry well.

  • If you find a plant you like instead of uprooting a plant (which makes you a scavenger and not a forager), take a small stem home with you and place root powder (from any hardware or gardening store) on it. Most plants will regrow their own roots and you will have a healthy and thriving plant in no time, leaving the mother plant to continue to contribute to the ecosystem it exists within. The brown and green stem fact does not apply to this.

  • Pine cones, seeds, dried leaves feathers are things we can afford to take more of, however, keep in mind that they provide food and resources for fauna as well as the natural spreading of seeds, so always leave some behind.

  • Try and forage across a large part of a landscape. Concentrating your foraging in one place means even if you are only taking a small amount from each plant, the collective snapping of branches, flowers and leaves is actually evident to others, especially those who know the space well. Moving down a stream, through a forest or along the coast reduces the visual and environmental impacts of foraging.

  • Pinteresting is a great way to plan out what you want to forage or what to do with what you found. There’s DIY and craft projects to suit every piece of flora you bring back and different ideas on how you can present them in your home, garden, office or how you can prep them to be given as a gift.

  • Foraging with others can be a great way to make time for loved ones in your life and it has this weird and magical connecting ability. Whether you forage in silence or spend the time talking and catching up, it can be a beautiful way to unite people.
“Our earth was not but or six billion people all running around being passionate about things. It was built for about two million people foraging for roots and grubs.”



Written by Claudia Boyo



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