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Harvesting and Health: Understanding the Healing Power of Wild Foods

“I’ve witnessed the power of wild foods,” said Elise Krohn M.Ed., an educator, author, herbalist and native foods specialist in the Pacific Northwest.

“Wild foods are nutritionally dense and have the unique ability to connect us with the seasons, the environment and the place we live. I think that is something a lot of people are really missing – that connection to community and to our food.”

On November 6, Elise is hosting a workshop spotlighting some of the Pacific Northwest’s most powerful and enriching wild foods – autumn berries. Beyond delicious, these foods are also compelling medicine.

“The evergreen huckleberry, for example, tastes wonderful and is loaded with antioxidants,” explained Elise. “They don’t raise blood sugar and research has linked their health benefits to diabetes and overall chronic disease prevention.”

The local event, “Autumn Berries for Optimal Health,” is sponsored in partnership with Providence St. Peter Hospital, South Sound Radiology and Harmony Hill Retreat Center.

Spotlighting the Pacific Northwest

“There is wonderful medicine all around us and sometimes it’s right under our feet,” said Elise, who talked about what makes the environment of the Pacific Northwest particularly special.

“We have a great diversity of ecosystems in the Pacific Northwest – forests, wetlands, open prairies – that offer many different roots and berries, and we have amazing beaches. When I think about all the different types of wild foods available here, I feel very lucky.”

rosehipAlong with the region’s wild berries, the workshop will also feature other seasonal foods such as rosehips.

“Rosehip is common in the region and autumn is a perfect time to harvest it,” said Elise. “It’s high in flavonoids, a type of antioxidant that protects your entire cardiovascular system. And rosehips are filled with vitamin C, so they’re great for the cough and cold season.”

Participants at the event will also learn ways these plants can balance insulin-resistant disorders and combat other chronic diseases, like cancer. Attendees will sample berry leaf teas, discover ways to make easy rosehip jam and learn some of Elise’s favorite recipes that highlight the season’s wild foods.

Open to Everyone

Regardless of your current understanding or relationship with native plants, the workshop is designed to educate and include everyone who is interested in learning more about the healing power of food.

“For those new to native plants, my goal for the workshop is that people will start to recognize some of our local plants and will feel confident about using them in their diet,” said Elise.

For others who are more advanced or familiar with harvesting and eating local plants, Elise hopes to provide new information to further grow and deepen their understanding of wild foods.

“Developing a relationship with food is a really rich and rewarding experience. Learning how food grows, watching it change throughout the seasons, understanding how to harvest, cook and enjoy it – once you’ve experienced this relationship, you’ll find you just want more of it.”

Taking Control of Your Health

“There are so few tools out there for chronic disease prevention,” said Elise who hopes this event is a catalyst people can use to help take control of their wellbeing. “Learning about these plants has the capacity to empower people and to help us engage in our health.”

Join Elise and a community of like-minded others at “Autumn Berries for Optimum Health” on November 6, 2014, 5:30 p.m., at South Sound Radiology in Olympia, Washington. The class is free, but please RSVP: (360) 493-4636 or mstevens@southsoundradiology.com.


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