A Forager’s Life is a beautifully written memoir of a life living in the company, comfort and bounty of nature, by poet and teacher Helen Lehndorf. As a young person, Lehndorf’s life was shaped by the land around her; she grew up rurally in Taranaki, in a small community where gathering, foraging, sharing, hunting, and fishing were all part of living life. As she grows up and moves to the city, Lehndorf finds solace from the stresses of university and being away from home through long walks foraging for weeks and plants along the river, and later, with her new husband, follows a calling for ancestral belonging to England.
Nature is woven throughout these stories of travel and family, so seamlessly and beautifully that you get the feeling that, for Lehndorf, foraging, gathering, and being outdoors is as much about emotional and spiritual survival as it is about searching for physical nourishment. And this book is more than a memoir – each chapter takes the name of a different foraged item, and concludes with a recipe or two that centres that same item. At the end of the book, Lehndorf has compiled a guide to foraging and a guide to permaculture principles, along with a detailed list of recommended further reading.
A Forager’s Life makes for a wonderful read for those seeking deeper connection with the environment around them – providing inspiration as well as practical support. For people who are already foraging and growing, Lehndorf’s story is will feel familiar, comforting, and encouraging.
Whatever your background, A Forager’s Life will have you noticing the world around you with fresh eyes.
Many thanks to Scorpio Books for this review.
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