In one epic hunt I broke a personal record that once was 27 pounds. This forage hauled in 47 pounds of beautiful Chaga! Along with my lovely partner, we had an amazing time hiking and collecting the diamond of the forest. As is the practice always, we used sustainable methods to extract the Chaga, leaving 30% to regrow and not harm the tree.
Theres something about being in an old growth forest that gives off the feeling of being in a place that is unquie and frozen in time. Like being inside a fantasy world. I can feel ancestors that long before collected medicine there. Perhaps for me, it’s the getting a little older that really makes me appreciate the wonder of it all a little more than before. This particular forage I felt myself slow down and notice my surroundings completely, enjoy the spring season happening all around. Sometimes tuning in as a practice really helps your focus and awareness but also allows the connection with the place your in to happen. I especially feel like that is definitely a key to a good mushroom hunt. Sort of like listening for them.
I believe this medicine, like all medicinal plants and mushrooms, is here to help us live healthier lives, to treat and cure diseases and illness, and are a part of the grand design. This world, however it was created, seems to have been structured perfectly, with everything people could need, namely food, medicine and shelter. The forest provides and we have to protect and care for it. The greatest threats seem to come from careless human decisions, such as too much development, once protected lands to be sold, mass natural resource extraction, pollution and on and on. When used wholesomely and ethically, nature regenerates and replenishes a lot of what is used.
Chaga has the ability to regrow when harvested right, over and over until the trees death. Now these trees are already doomed that contain Chaga, as it grows from the center out and is slowly killing the tree, acting like a tumor (which for us, it has been shown to reduce tumors).
I believe in a local economy, where the people that live in a community get what they need from their own surroundings. Tailgate and farmers markets, small businesses owned by families or individuals. Farmers and gardeners, hunters and gatherers. We dont need huge companies that use mass amounts of resources, we need to look to our own neighbors and support them.
Wild crafting such as I and many others do is a sustainable practice that provides for the people around us. It’s the way people used to do things, especially the native culture to our home country. I really feel blessed to have found this passion for foraging, teaching, learning and being connected to the natural world and for the chance to share it with others.
All that said, I’ve been feeling pretty grateful having found so much medicine to be able to bring to people who need it!