Selling Wild Foods
By Eric Hammer
Any boy scout knows that mother nature has a bounty to offer
for gatherers wild foods abound throughout forests and
national parks and if you know what youre doing (so you
avoid the poisonous foods), then you can easily make yourself
a feast every single day and night from nothing but the wild
foods that can be found in forests.
But what about selling wild foods? While it might go against
some peoples sense of fairness that you gathered food for
free and then sold it for a profit, many people do just that.
These are people who are comfortable foraging for food in a forest,
collecting wild root vegetables and berries, gathering them up
and selling them on the Internet to people who want really and
truthfully naturally grown food.
The business is still in its infancy and there is naturally
a limit to the number of people who can make money doing it (after
all, theres only so much food that grows wild that can
be harvested). Plus, its unclear what the law says about
it. However, if you want to get into the business of selling
wild foods, then read on.
How Much Can You Make?
Because this business is a relatively new one, its hard
to come up with firm numbers for the amounts you can earn. However,
one person, profiled by Reason Magazine did report selling boxes
of assorted wild foods for between $40-$80 with subscriptions
from a number of customers for a box every single month. Not
bad for food she didnt have to work to grow all
she had to do was gather it.
Ways to Make More | Related Opportunities
Gathering and selling wild foods is definitely not for everyone.
Its a job that requires a keen eye and as previously noted,
there may be some legal issues involved in doing it (more on
this in a moment). However, if you do want to get into this business,
it pays to start up a website and offer to ship nationally since
youre not likely to find enough business locally for your
gatherings each month.
If you do set up such a web site, you can also always expand
it to offer natural foods and organically grown commercial foods
in addition to the wild foods that you gather on your own.
Qualifications / Requirements
There are no formal requirements to get into the business
of selling wild foods. However, there may be some legal issues
to consider. State laws vary, but many states will not allow
you to sell foods gathered in the wild unless you have them inspected
by a third party expert to make sure they are truly safe to eat.
This is especially true of mushrooms, some of which can have
psychotropic effects on the brain.
In addition to this, there is the question of ownership. If
you gather wild foods in state or federal parks or nature reserves
for yourself, generally you should be fine. However, if you are
harvesting large amounts of food and coming back regularly, you
may have problems with the park rangers who can (rightfully claim)
that you are taking government property and may impose fines.
Therefore, it pays to sort this out before you begin to get into
Start by learning what kinds of wild foods are available in
your area. Take books out of the library to learn about the foods
and be careful to make sure you can identify foods exactly. Different
wild foods may look similar, but while one may be perfectly fine
to eat, another may be poisonous, so you need to be sure.
Check out these helpful resources to learn more about selling
Minnesota Department of Health: Harvesting and Selling
Wild Mushrooms in Minnesota -- While this is just one states
rules regarding gathering and selling wild mushrooms, the advice
here should prove useful to anyone interested in gathering and
selling wild foods. In essence, they require that the mushrooms
be identified by a third party expert on mushrooms before they
are sold so that you do not accidentally sell poisonous mushrooms
to the public at large.
Wild Foods Adventurer Newsletter An excellent
newsletter on gathering wild foods. While not specifically about
selling them, this newsletter is still quite useful for the purpose
of learning more about gathering them.
Reason Magazine: Selling Free Food An
interesting article which details some information about how
the wild foods movement has grown.
Gatherer Cook: Adventures in Wild Food A blog on gathering
and hunting for wild food. Again, not necessarily about selling
it, but quite useful in and of itself.