OUR STORY

Our story and…

…where it all began, with VIX-HILL RYDER GUIDING THE WAY.

I set up The Family Foraging Kitchen in 2013 to teach people the skills to find Free Food Forever Food that is exciting, delicious, sustainable, and nutritious. I don’t just teach people the skills to find free food, but how to turn it into easy and healthy meals for the family.

After the birth of our son, my husband and I left our successful careers in the Third Sector and moved from London – back to the village where I grew up in southeast Cornwall. Reconnecting with a vibrant community and beautiful countryside allowed my son the same upbringing I enjoyed. I spent my childhood in the hedgerows, fields, and on the coast with my late Grandfather, a scout leader and amateur botanist, who first introduced me to wild edible plants.

Although I left Cornwall at 18, studied, graduated, travelled the world, and forged a career in fundraising, I retained my love and passion for the natural world,  foraged food, and cooking with wild ingredients. Even in London, at weekends I’d be in the parks and commons – basket in hand – enjoying the edible delights that urban wild spaces have to offer. Foraging on my travels and during my time as a salary woman, I began selecting wild ingredients to invent interesting gourmet-style recipes as a hobby.

Moving back to Cornwall, my relationship with wild food changed from being ‘just a hobby’ into a necessity due to a change in our circumstances.  Every day I was out gathering ingredients for my dinner. I would be stopped and asked what I was picking and how I would use what I gathered. Over time it became apparent that the knowledge I had was of value to the community and that I had a skill from which I could potentially make a living. Cornwall has a rich natural larder with a fantastic and bountiful array of wild food, yet I find people lack, not only the skills and confidence to forage, but also the appreciation that vegetables do not have to be covered in plastic and labeled to be safe enough to eat.

I teach people from all walks of life how to safely identify wild edibles and poisonous species so they have the skills to feed their families in a nutritious, sustainable way. For free. Forever.

Since launching The Family Foraging Kitchen, my reputation has grown and attracted an amazing team of people so that we now offer not only walks and activities connected to wild food, but also workshops in traditional countryside crafts from willow basketry to beekeeping. I continue to work with a number of award-winning chefs to create gourmet wild food pop-up events and have provided wild food cookery demonstrations at festivals around the UK.

Most importantly, my connection to the landscape and daily contact with nature continues to teach and provide me with both nutritious food and plants for healing and medicinal use. I’d love to share that knowledge and experience with you all.

Tribal Elders

EVERY SUCCESSFUL BUSINESS NEEDS A WISE TEAM.

The Family Foraging Kitchen has its very own board of Tribal Elders. We meet twice a year to discuss our successes and setbacks and to make sure we are always delivering the best service for our customers. The ‘Elders’ were individually selected for their backgrounds, varied skill set, friendship and support. We believe that every successful business should be led by a wise team!

The Family Foraging Kitchen C.I.C

MEET MORE OF THE TEAM

Leon

Office Administrator and Outreach Coordinator

Leon is a writer, budding forager, and traditional skills enthusiast with a background in charity and food.
He joined our team in 2020, supporting our social enterprise with its administration and community outreach.

Robbie

Course Instructor

Robbie is a local beekeeper and runs courses in how to get started with bees and in how to look after them.
Alongside running our apiary courses, he runs traditional skills courses, including straw skep making and coppicing.

Esther

Visual Artist

Esther is a visual artist and aspiring gardener, with a penchant for singing and playing guitar.
She is currently designing the tarot-inspired recipe cards that accompany the Family Foraging Kitchen’s free wild food boxes.

Matilda

Film Maker

Matilda is an exceedingly talented local filmmaker here on the Rame Peninsula, who is bringing creativity and energy to the team.
With a keen cinematic eye, she is currently directing our Online Foraging series.

Gareth

Digital Marketing Designer

Gareth is Creative Director of Out of Town, a design studio based in Millbrook.
He uses his 20 years experience to help with all things Digital including our new website!  

The Family Foraging Kitchen C.I.C

Board of Directors

Vix

Vix Hill-Ryder founded The Family Foraging Kitchen in 2013. She is a wild food teacher and cook, mother to two children and is a successful and award winning social entrepreneur who works to tackle food poverty and malnutrition within her community.
She has an MA in English Literature and spent many years teaching English as a foreign language both in the UK and in Japan and Thailand before forging a successful career in the third sector.
She worked for various UK charities within logistics, fundraising, trust/foundation and lottery grant management.  She also spent a year in Tanzania as a fundraising manager for a small international NGO.

Duncan

Duncan Hill-Ryder (Hill) helped his wife found the Family Foraging Kitchen in 2013 and has supported her work ever since. His background is in the third sector having worked for a number of charities and fundraising companies.
Between 2004 and 2008 he was the Environmental & Ethical Advisor to an international fundraising company. He has worked as a Community Educator, as Training, Recruitment and Office Manager and is currently the Director of his own small business – Enhanscapes Ltd.
He also volunteered at a reconciliation festival in Bosnia twice and spent a year working for a small youth empowerment charity in East Africa. Hill runs a local performance poetry group and has performed at various venues across the country. He loves music, art and anything to do with nature and the outdoors.

Julie

Julie has a background of over 10 years’ experience as a corporate lawyer but undertook a change in direction following a career break to raise her family.
She now focuses on working for a variety of social justice causes, most recently co-founding a non-profit that seeks to normalise the conversation around children’s mental health.
Julia lives in the middle of Devon and is happiest out in the wilds of Dartmoor whilst continuing to be an enthusiastic amateur forager and family cook, with a growing interest in herbal remedies.

Anne

Anne Shears is a solicitor specialising in family law.
Anne studied Law and German at Cardiff University and then completed her post graduate professional qualification in Bristol. Anne grew up in the South West and returned to train in Plymouth.
She now works in a multidisciplinary firm of solicitors in Plymouth and carries out work in connection with divorce and finances. Anne has a particular interest in food and cookery and collects cookery books.