1. The rising cost of food puts a financial burden on families, especially those who are already struggling during a difficult economy. The burden lies not just on the people who purchase this food, however. The transportation of food hundreds and even thousands of miles produces an unsustainable situation. While this transportation might provide a convenient means for consumers to purchase fruits and vegetables year round, it creates pollution and the further reduction of fossil fuels. In addition, processed food must be packaged, requiring even more energy as well as plastics made from oil. Commercial foods, along with fruits and vegetables that have been shipped long distances, produce environmental damage beyond what is normally seen.

    Wild edibles can provide individuals and families with an easy, local solution to this problem. In addition, learning about local plants can be an interesting and beneficial hobby. Modern children are able to identify many logos and jingles, but few are able to identify native trees and plants. Care must be taken, however, in identifying and eating wild plants. Any person should be well educated about the plants before consuming them in any form.

    The correct identification of the plant is essential. Purchasing several good field guides is a smart way to begin learning about native plants. Those with color pictures and details about each plant are the best for finding edible plants; finding the right plant is essential as many have lookalikes that are deadly. Some even specialize on edible plants versus simply wildflowers or trees. Also the internet can provide additional pictures, videos, and information about the plants and their use.

    In addition, when harvesting plants, avoiding areas of unnecessary pollution and insecticide is important. With the increased use of chemicals on green areas, whether lawns or fields, one must be very careful in selecting plants for consumption. Because being certain about the use of pesticides in an unknown area can be difficult, collecting plants from a home that uses only organic methods to control pests can be an easy choice. Avoiding those areas close to heavily traveled roads can also prevent being unnecessarily exposed to car pollutants.

    Although eating wild edibles can be intimidating, it can also be rewarding as well. Perhaps the easiest way to begin is by eating a few dandelions, which are prevelant and easily recognizable. Above all, taking the time to learn about native plants along with taking certain precautions can allow for a safe, tasty meal enhanced with wild edibles. Eating them can benefit the budget as well as the environment.


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