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.
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!