Harvesting edible wild plants can be a fun, educational and sustainable activity for all ages if it is done properly. Ontario Nature has identified some basic rules for harvesting wild plants to ensure the safety of participants and the sustainability of plants involved.
- Be sure you know what you are harvesting, and eat only plants you can positively identify as edible. Learning about plants from a local expert, consulting books and taking courses or workshops are recommended (see the resources at the end of this guide).
- Harvest plants in areas where you know the risk of contamination from industrial and other pollution is low.
- Eat only a small quantity of any plant you have not eaten before and assess how it affects you before eating more.
- Although foraging for edible plants is permitted on most public land in Ontario, obtain permission from the owner before collecting plants on private property. Another best practice is to obtain permission from the local First Nation community before harvesting on traditional territory.
- Most importantly, take only what you can use and use what you take. Edible wild plants are a shared resource. Users of them must take responsibility for ensuring that they will continue to thrive year after year.