Euell Gibbons

Asparagus – Forage for Health

Considering that the movement towards sustainable living is picking up speed, no discussion of asparagus would be complete without mentioning Euell Gibbons and his original back to the Earth foraging book Stalking The Wild Asparagus (1962). Euell Gibbons learned how to forage from his mother and was able to support his family with those skills during the dust bowl era of the 1930s. When I first read his book it inspired me to take a course in identifying wild herbs at Wellpark College and soon I was walking the streets of Auckland, my eyes intently focused on the ground, trying to figure out what these plants were that I had never noticed before. One of the first ones that I put a name to was Shephard’s Purse, which has such unique heart-shaped leaves it is an easy one to pick out—suddenly I was seeing it everywhere. Since that day, my list of plants I can confidently identify has slowly but steadily grown. I enjoy this sort of collecting, the collecting of plant names, it is free, doesn’t take up space and organizes the jumble of images and information rumbling through my senses to my brain.