Year-Long Food Challenge Culminates with a Foraged-Food Wedding


Homemade Huckleberry Wedding Cheesecake

December 2011: My long-distance sweetheart, Daniel, visited me for a week. We’re both survival skills teachers, ready to rise to challenges. When Daniel suggested we do a pop quiz of eating only hand-harvested food for two days, I said, “Yeah!”

I knew we wouldn’t starve. We had a chicken for stew, some kale from the garden, the day’s offering of eggs from the surviving hens, and creativity. We didn’t have any salt, but we sure didn’t go hungry.

This tied in with a challenge that I had given myself for years of eating at least one food item from my land every day, even if it was just a taste. One dandelion leaf, a handful of raspberries, one chicken egg. The constant awareness opened my eyes to the edible world around me, and inspired me to steadily plant more food.

Defining a Hand-Harvested Food Challenge

Daniel and I had so much fun that we decided to try our challenge for a week the next time he visited. He returned with elk steaks, and I upped my garden game to provide more produce. This courtship of meals continued as our food challenge expanded over the next few years: Could we do two weeks? What about a month? What about a week out of every month of the year?

We didn’t run out of calories, but the main trouble was social. We suddenly had the most specialized diet of anyone we knew. Our friends pulled through with amazing food like cacao nibs and macadamia nuts from Hawai’i. The mom of one of our interns sent us giant avocados from her Miami garden. Friends on the coast brought us clams and kelp. There’s something profoundly nourishing about harvesting and sharing food, as you probably have experienced.

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