Foraging Fortnight at the Festival

Orkney International Science Festival has an added outdoor dimension through collaborating with a new Foraging Fortnight established in Scotland.

Foraging food from the wild, once standard for older generations, is now reviving, with its benefits for nutrition and exercise and the opportunity to connect to the natural world.

Foraging Fortnight came about through a LEADER-funded initiative covering five Scottish regions – Lanarkshire, Fife, Moray; Forth Valley and Lomond, and Orkney.

Through it, the Festival’s programme has been enhanced by a number of new events, including shore outings and papermaking from natural materials. In 2019 there were talks on wild food in Scandinavia, a look at the potential of seaweed for health and nutrition, and an evening of foraged food from the Neolithic.

We were also outdoors with ethnobotanical researcher Anna Canning and Orkney wildlife guide Megan Taylor, on outings on parts of the St Magnus Way, including an expedition by the shores of Scapa Flow – along the sand of Waulkmill Bay and the RSPB’s Hobbister bird reserve, by the shore of Scapa Flow. It rained but everyone was well prepared, and there was a picnic lunch of local fare – and also some wild plants to identify and sample.

In 2020 and 2021 we went online, with a range of talks and filmed outings, and for 2022 we hope to have in addition a number of walks and outings in various parts of Orkney.

Foraging events 2021

Foraging events 2020

FORAGING AND FISH TANNING WITH ZEKI BASAN

September 12, 2020 → 2:00 pm2:15 pm

Turning a waste product into something beautiful and usable is one of the skills practiced by wilderness instructor Zeki Basan at his home in a remote part of the Cairngorms. He shows a short film about the process and provides an outline of what to do. He also show scenes of the landscape around him, and some of the plants that he forages.

OUTING: FORAGING BY THE FLOW

September 12, 2020 → 3:30 pm4:15 pm

We go over to Orphir and a walk across the sands of Waulkmill Bay and up through the RSPB’s Hobbister reserve on a section of the St Magnus Way. It’s a journey from sandflats and saltmarsh to moorland and sea cliffs for ethnobotanical researcher Anna Canning and Orkney wildlife guide Megan Taylor, as they look out for wild plants and discuss their traditional uses for sustenance and health with foragers from Scotland and Poland.

SLOW WOODLANDS

September 13, 2020 → 2:00 pm2:45 pm

An opportunity to unwind amongst trees and woodland, with a look at some of the plants and the stories behind them, with Rox Madeira. She is the creator of the Little Alchemists’ Club and wants to encourage families to enjoy slow, local, seasonal, healthy eating, connected to a sense of place.

BENEATH THE APPLE TREES

September 13, 2020 → 3:30 pm3:35 pm

Andrew Carmichael with the view from one of the old apple orchards of the Upper Clyde Valley.

DID YOU REALLY WANT TO WORK ON THE LAND, DAD?

September 13, 2020 → 3:40 pm4:30 pm

The fruit you can sometimes forage today in parts of the Clyde Valley is the remnant of a once-great industry, whose produce was grown and processed and transported to markets across the country. The area has a history of orchards, going back hundreds of years. Today some continue in cultivation while others lie abandoned, a home for wildlife. The Lanarkshire Songwriters have gathered memories from growers and pickers of the great days of Lanarkshire apples and plums, strawberries and tomatoes, and turned them into songs with schools and members of the community, on a CD called Fruits of Their Labours. Billy Stewart, Ian Walker, Martin Coffield and John Young join us to describe the land and its traditions in words and music.

Foraging events 2019

SWEDISH FOOD FROM THE WILD

September 9, 2019 → 10:00 am11:30 am

Chef and food writer Wendy Barrie, leader of Slow Food Scotland’s Ark of Taste, is joined by baker Karin Jonsson and Stronsay forager Marion Miller to look at ways in which food from the wild can be used in Swedish style to enrich your baking.

MYSTERIOUS MATERIALS, CURIOUS CURES

September 9, 2019 → 3:30 pm4:30 pm

Traditional remedies used some unusual ingredients. Alongside many plants now considered weeds, medicines might include ox gall or badger fat, marble, lead or urine … How do they stand up to scientific scrutiny? Ethnobotanical researcher Anna Canning takes a look

SEAWEED – THE MISSING INGREDIENT

September 9, 2019 → 5:15 pm6:15 pm

Seaweed, a familiar source of nutrition in the past, is having a revival. Simon Ranger of the Seagreens Trust has been to the fore in production, research and market application for the past 20 years. He has developed a small, pioneering consortium spanning the Nordic region and the British Isles, and seaweed ingredients in foods ranging from soups and snacks to sauces and supplements. He sees opportunities in Orkney which can benefit from such an international partnership.

WORKSHOP: PAPERMAKING FROM NATURAL MATERIALS

September 10, 2019 → 10:00 am12:00 pm

Join artists Lin Chau and Shanshan Jiang for papermaking using garden plants and common weeds. An introductory hands-on workshop exploring ways of producing paper using natural resources around us, with all material provided. You can also feel free to bring

OUTING: FORAGING THE OLD ROAD

September 10, 2019 → 11:30 am3:30 pm

Join ethnobotanical researcher Anna Canning and Orkney wildlife guide Megan Taylor to walk along part of the St Magnus Way and look for wild plants and learn about their traditional uses for sustenance and health. Walk includes hillside, woods and

BORROWDALE, BLENCATHRA, THEN ON TO BEDA FELL

September 10, 2019 → 2:00 pm3:00 pm

Elizabeth Woodcock describes the landscape of the Cumbrian Lakeland Fells, including ravens, woodcocks, temperate rainforests, sphagnum mosses and the carnivorous sundew.

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