Foraging for food among Wisconsin’s weeds

By Joel Waldinger | October 3, 2023


As a naturalist and a forager M. Afi Lake sees a food source everywhere she looks. Her philosophy is simple: wild food is abundant and it is largely overlooked. Afi noticed and admired plants from an early age and it was that natural curiosity that interested her in foraging. 

Tour the outdoors with Lake and she can find a smorgasbord of things to eat. She uses Bee Balm for tea, Viola or Johnny Jump Ups for salads and a ground-up mix of Chicory with Dandelion root as a coffee substitute. The health benefits of wild plants can also be endless. Afi uses Calendula for skin issues, dandelion for skin inflammation and she’s studying the dreaded thistle for use as a possible pain killer. 

Her holistic and natural approach is sometimes misunderstood. “I’ve gotten the, ‘You’re strange.’ But there’s always one or two who are willing to try.  So, I think those are like my soul mates,” says Lake. Having discovered so many of nature’s secrets, Lake serves up this antidote about nature and healing, “We are just totally overlooking the wealth of the planet. We have many, many woes and worries these days and I just feel like if you just took a walk, to spend time in nature and just enjoy the wonder of it.” In nature Lake unearths a sense of majesty and peace. The reason she forages is simple. Lake calls it her happy place.

Joel Waldinger

Joel Waldinger

Joel Waldinger is a reporter for the “Wisconsin Life” project and considers a sunset over the “big island” on Manson Lake to be a perfect ending to a day of fishing and fun in the Northwoods. 
2023-10-26T15:37:35-05:00Tags: , , |

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