2022 Great Lakes Foragers Gathering
Thursday, June 23, 4:00pm – Sunday, June 26, 2:00pm at Frog Holler Farm in the Irish Hills region of Southern Michigan.
The Great Lakes Foragers Gathering is the largest annual gathering of wild food enthusiasts in the Great Lakes region. You can look forward to a variety of classes and workshops covering foraging, cooking with wild foods, and other traditional skills. Plus you will have the opportunity to sample amazing wild food dishes at every meal. And, of course, we will continue our tradition of creating great memories, making new friends, and building a strong community.
This year’s keynote speaker will be Alexis Nikole, aka Black Forager (tiktok.com/@alexisnikole). Other instructors will include Sam Thayer (foragersharvest.com), and the instructors from Will Forage for Food, Open Grown School (opengrownschool.com), and Wild Persimmon School (persimmonherbschool.com). Additional classes will be taught by herbalists, naturalists, ecologists, wild foodies, lifestyle foragers, hunters, trappers, bushcrafters, and wildcrafters from around the Great Lakes region. Our schedule is subject to change, but here is our working draft so that you can see what types of things we are planning. Instructor bios and descriptions of the classes will be available in the spring, once we have finalized the schedule.
There will be edible and medicinal plant and mushroom walks, and classes on a wide range of topics including cooking with wild foods, herbal medicine, plant and mushrooms ID, sustainability, ecology, wilderness skills, bushcraft skills, and much more. And there will be classes devoted to kids and family activities. But this event is much more than just walks and classes. This is a community. So we will also have group foraging, a barter, a potluck, a scavenger hunt, multiple cooking contests, open mic, and weekend long projects. We encourage everyone to participate in any or all of these.
Food: We use wild ingredients in every meal, giving you the opportunity to sample several different foods throughout the we ekend.Thursday evening we have a Potluck, along with our Wild Foods Cooking Contests. Since wild foods caterers are rare (understatement of the year) we don’t have anyone to cook for us the rest of the weekend. Instead, participants all take a shift in the kitchen and we prep the meals in groups. Since we use wild ingredients in nearly every dish, this is an excellent opportunity to learn to work with wild foods. Don’t worry, you will be supervised by experienced cooks. We forage all year long, gathering and preserving foods for the event. We also do a Group Forage to collect seasonal fresh foods. And much of our additional produce comes from local farms. This year we will also have Gretchen from Czechbox Bakery (czechboxbakery.com) who will have wild foods based baked goods for sale for those late evening snacks.
Camping: The field can accomodate just about anything, even the biggest, fanciest glampers. Or, if you prefer, you can sleep on the grass by the campfire under the open sky. Or anything in between. Most people opt for a tent or a hammock. Note: This is not a campground, it’s a farm field. It will be fairly primitive. We will have a place for charging phones, port-a johns, and a place to fill water bottles. There is no shower on site, so bring your swimsuit for the pond. There is also no electricity or dump station for RVs. If you must use a generator at night we ask you to use the far end of the field, where the sound will not bother other campers.
- Weekend Pass: All event activities and group meals, plus a place to hang a hammock, pitch a tent, or park your camper,
- Individual (14 and over): $200
- Couple (2 individiuals sharing a camp spot): $350
- Kids ages 4-14 (kids under 4 are free): $100
- Family (2 individuals plus kids): $450
- Day pass- 8am until dusk, includes group meals, $100 per day per person (over age 4).
What to Bring: Things you may want to bring include:
- Necessities- You will need to provide your own sleeping arrangements, a place setting for meals (plate, cup, bowl (there will be soup), utensils, and a cloth napkin) , and your own seating. It will also be helpful to bring your foraging basket, a notebook and pen, and a bathing suit since there is no shower.
- Food– Everyone should bring either
- Wild Foods Cooking Contest and/or Wild Beverage Contest Entry- To enter, you just need to make something with at least 1 foraged ingredient. (That’s right. Weed the purslane out of your garden and cover it in ranch, put a bunch of wild berries in a bowl, or bring a gallon of sumac lemonade.) If you want to enter the contest, plan to have your dish ready for sampling at dinner time on Thursday. Refrigeration, cookfires, electricity, oven and stove are available this year. So bring on your best dishes! There will, of course, be prizes for the top entries.
- Potluck Entry- In order to leave the kitchen available to the cooking contestants, our dinner on Thursday is a potluck.
- Side note– Our goal at meals is to showcase the wild ingredients. We will do our best to provide a varied menu throughout the weekend, but since we aren’t professional chefs we may not always be able to accomodate special diets. If you are on a limited diet or are a picky eater, you may want to bring some snacks. Just in case.
- Barter and Sale Items- We do a barter, similar to a trade blanket. Bring what you have too much of and trade it for something you need…foraged food items, stuff from your garden, homemade baked goods or canned goods, medicinals, soaps, crafts, extra canning jars you don’t need, hand tools you don’t use, anything you want to get rid of. You never know what someone might be interested in. If you sell handcrafted items or other items that may be of interest to foragers you are welcome to set up a booth for the weekend. We do hope that anyone who has items for sale will be open to the possibility of bartering.
- Open Mic/Show and Tell Stuff- We will have an open mic/show and tell for anyone who wants to participate. Bring that hide you tanned or that scarf you knitted that you are so proud of. Or bring your guitar. Or sing for us. Or dance for us. Or tell a story, or jokes, do ventriliquism, juggle… It doesn’t matter what you show off, and it doesn’t matter if it’s particularly good. What matters is the community that forms when people share their talents.