Foraging 101 Online: Intro to Foraging

Foraging 101 is designed to help you learn to become a confident, independent forager. Most of the learning is done in an online classroom and in your own backyard. The course is designed with 7, 1 month long Modules. Each Module will include 1-1.5 hours of videos introducing you to important foraging skills as well as 12-15 “focus plant” segments to help you locate and identify seasonal edibles and medicinals. There will also be 15-25 pages of reading material, worksheets, self-quizzes, and a scavenger hunt designed to help you learn the material and keep track of your progress. The class also has a discussion forum where you can ask questions at any time. Nearly all of the online content is exclusive to this course and cannot be found anywhere else. To get the most out of this experience, students should plan to devote 2-3 hours each week to this class.

In addition to the online content, current students may choose to attend certain plant walks throughout Michigan’s lower peninsula free of charge. More importantly, plant lists from these walks will be posted to the course website after each walk. This lets everyone who couldn’t attend know exactly what they should be looking for at that particular time. We are collaborating with foraging instructors from around Michigan to provide 4-6 walks to choose from each month.

Want to learn more? Check out the Orientation Video here to hear more about the class and instructor and see a tour fo the course website. 

Cost:

  • Module 1 (begins in April), special introductory rate: $25
  • Modules 2-7 (begin monthly, May-October): $40 per Module
  • Or purchase the entire 7 month course for $200

Register HERE.

Module 1- Foraging Basics (April 15- May 14): This Module provides a solid place for the beginning forager to start, and is a great review for those with a bit more experience. In addition to the seasonal plants, topics covered will include safety, sustainability, what types of things you should take with you when foraging, harvesting tips and tricks, and how to set up a foraging journal so that you can keep track of everything you will be learning throughout the Foraging 101 course.

Module 2- Top 10s (May 15- June 14): In  addition to the seasonal plants for the month, this Module will cover several top 10 lists for foragers in Michigan. The list topics include 10 herbaceous plants, 10 woody plants, mushrooms, 10 leafy greens, 10 fruits, 10 roots, 10 staple starches, 10 medicinals, 10 bushcraft plants, an 2 lists of things to avoid: 10 toxic plants and mushrooms, and 10 common non-forage plants.

Module 3 (June 15- July 14): How to Find What You Want- You know what the plant looks like, you know it’s in season, why can’t you find it anywhere? Knowing where to look for the plants you want is a skill you can learn. This Module will cover several important ecology concepts, emphasizing information that can help you find what you are looking for. We will also talk about mapping the ecological communities in your foraging territory.

Module 4 (July 15- August 14): Intro to Plants- This Module introduces foragers to the concepts and terminology of botany. We will also review the essentials of plant anatomy and physiology. As usual the focus will be on the aspects of these topics that are useful to foragers.

Module 5 (August 15-Septmeber 14): Intro to Mushrooms- Mushrooms are mysterious and intimidating to most people. But they don’t have to be. This Module will cover the basics of mushroom anatomy and physiology, focusing on those aspects of the mushroom life cycle that can be seen without a microscope.

Module 6 (Septmeber 15-October 14): How to ID an Unknown- One of the most important, and most difficult, skills for a forager to learn. This Module builds on the skills learned in Modules 4 and 5. If you missed Module 4 and/or 5, don’t worry. You can still learn ID skills, it will just take a bit more work.

Module 7 (October 15-November 14): Wild Food Cooking and Preservation- Now that you have learned how to identify and find your food, what do you do with it? This Module will cover cooking and preservation techniques to help you turn your woodland groceries into gourmet meals.