You have been sharing stories aplenty, about migrant’s connections, native relevance, environmental stewardship and legitimacy of context.
This story below comes from a young man, about 3 years of age, who came to a mushroom foraging workshop and gathered an expirience that hopefully will inform his future decisions and direction in relation to living on the land.
He’s name is Buster, and the story is told from her mum:
Buster used these pieces of “burger” lego today to make mushrooms! He had them standing up straight, then cut them with another piece of lego that he called his knife, leaving a small piece of the stalk on the board!
So we put them into this frypan and cooked them!…
Then he served them up on a plate and carried them out to the kitchen for Pop to eat!…
Yes, our mushroom foraging adventure was a very memorable experience for him!
the Wild Stories Project at Casula Powerhouse Arts Centre has been awarded the Local Government Cultural Award!
Thanks so much to the whole team at CPAC, including the Director Kiersten Fishburn for her vision, Adam Porter for his invaluable help and guide in the wilderness of getting a show up, Nisa Mackie for the public program and Jacqueline Hornjik for the marketing. Also also thank you to all the people who came along to the workshops and events, and the fantastic people who shared their stories, including but not limited to: Cornersmith , Tessa Zettel , Mirra Whale , Agnieszka Kaczmarz , Lisa Norris , Adrian O’Doherty, Boolarng Nangamai , Karynne Ledger , Costa Georgiadis and more >> thank you all
See the images for last year’s exhibition here>
There is a book by Italo Calvino that still speaks to you, still has something to teach, something to say.
It is the story of Marcovaldo, a simple man of rural upbringing who scouts the city where he migrated for work, in search for that natural connection that he left behind.
The book, Marcovaldo or the Seasons in the City is a collection of short stories about disconnection and search for meanings. One particular story talks about how our anti-hero finds mushrooms growing in a city park. Marcovaldo recognise them as the edible sort he was used to, only to fall sick after eating them.
There is lots to be said about knowledge, how you acquire it and how do you transplant it into the situations offered to you as you travel through life.
Sometimes to ‘know’ is not enough, as little details unbeknownst to you hide away behind the complacent feeling of ‘having enough information’.
To question all the times is important, it might come across as pedantic at times, but surely can save you indigestion, in the case of mushrooms.
It’s raining in Sydney, a lot, and that is bringing forth what some already hail as “biggest season I’ve seen” [in 30 years of foraging].
Indeed mushrooms and toadstools are sprouting everywhere, like the ones above.
Beware of lookalikes, as the one above, easily mistaken for a (edible) Parasol mushroom -Chlorophyllum rhacodes-, but rather is a False Parasol mushroom (posoinous) – Chlorophyllum molybdites -
The way to tell them apart is via spore print, and that is by placing the mushroom on a piece of white and black paper for a few hours so that the spores can drop on it, and you can then assess the coloring: white spores= edible ; green spores= poisonous.
The season is on and Wild Stories is now offering workshops on how to recognise and prepare wild harvested mushrooms, see here for details. Whether willing mushroomers come with us or go out alone, never bypass the golden rule: if in doubt, go without>>
That’s one of the reasons why you go in pine plantations for mushrooms, as there there are a couple of varieties that you cannot mistake. Polish and Ukrainian know that, and have been safely harvesting for generations. That’s where we go, to fetch Saffron Milk Caps and Slippery Jacks>> Yum!
See here for a helpful info pack by the Oberon Tourist Information Centre, and here from Western Australia for the Field Mushrooms.
Happy harvesting season everyone
We went over the mountain via the Bell Line. There were severe fires there about 6 weeks ago, and then it came the rain 4 weeks ago, for 2 weeks.
We eventually went all the way to Newnes, a deep valley on the other side of the ranges, untouched by fires, historic sites with industrial architecture remnants. It felt like stepping into Mordor 100 hundred years after the defeat.
See the full set here>>
Wild Stories got featured in the front page of the Parramatta Sun in preparation for the upcoming foraging workshop in Parramatta Park.
This is the poster presented by Anna DuChesne at the 2013 annual meeting of the Society for Economic Botany, held in Plymouth, England.
Anna is a Master of Science (Ethnobotany) student at Southern Cross University, Lismore. Her research focus on the home gardens of Italian migrants in the Northern Rivers -assessing the plants growing in it but also the practice of collecting from the wild- and hope to demonstrate that wildcrafting is alive and well in Australia, focusing on the Italian community as an example.
In Anna’s words:
Within ethnobotanical literature, the gathering of wild food plants is recognised as a practice that is central to traditional plant knowledge, use and belief in Italy.
In the academic literature, there is an overwhelming lack of recognition of the traditional ecological knowledge of Australia’s diverse migrant groups. However there is a growing interest in traditional methods, foraging, etc in the popular media. The recent popularity of foraging in cities may be seen as reclamation of Traditional Knowledge practices.
I wonder if the public perception of “the forager” – based on the Australian media’s celebration of high end European chefs (eg Rene Redzepi from Noma in Copenhagen) has blinded us to the everyday practice of collecting wild vegetables that has been quietly taking place in the Italian, Polish, Lebanese, Macedonian, Serbian migrant communities through out Australia?
below is Anna presenting the poster at the conference:
Anne Fullerton was on a mission. Enticed by the latest culinary crave for wild food, she decided to take on the challenge of preparing a dinner entirely sourced from urban wilderness.
To do so she needed a guide to take her through the abandoned areas of Sydney and to point at the edible possibilities under her own feet.
Anne contacted you, and with trepidation followed you amongst nettle, blackberries and wild fennels to discover fields of dandelions, plantain and dock, turkey rhubarb and wood sorrel, and more that she could digest (metaphorically) on her crash course.
She was way out of her market-ready comfort zone, but eager to listen.
She was out of season for most of the things offered too, but as an eager (stoic) adventurer she followed you, like Little Red Riding Hood >>
The dinner was challenging, the guests unaccustomed to most flavours, but she succeeded in recounting her experience and experimentation in this lovely article below, published in Marie Claire, soon in the news stands.
Read the full article here