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I’m Federica and I currently live in Diemen, a small town 15 minutes by bike from Amsterdam Oost.
Attached to my house there is a small garden in which Nettles and few other wild plants (of which I cannot wait to know the ID) grow undisturbed. This area is safe, protected from animal pollution, and private, so I felt already free to harvest some delicious Nettle tops and make my first Vodka tincture and apple cider vinegar tincture!
The surrounding area is an industrial zone but, fortunately, it is mainly composed of storage buildings and administrative offices. For this reason, there is no major “production” pollution but only a great coming and going of trucks. I certainly don’t feel safe picking wild herbs in the nearest area.
The most interesting side of my location is the proximity to large green areas such as Diemerbos, Diemenpolder, Bijlmerweide, Gaasperplas, Penbos, and Pen Island.
Despite numerous walks in these places, I have never seen anyone foraging wild herbs. I don’t think it’s a particularly widespread practice.
I did not know that foraging is illegal in the Netherlands! I do not deny that I felt a little upset by this news. I have to get used to this concept. In Italy, my native country, there are no particular restrictions except for protected and endangered plants. I’m used to great freedom in natural environments but I will do my best to behave and respect the laws of the NL by foraging in a very ethical way.
The hardest part for me will be reprogramming my mind to consider clean and safe places that I would never have recognized as such. Usually, a countryside road with very little human/car traffic is already too busy to be considered clean for me. It will be a very interesting journey to discover treasures so precious that not even urban complexities will be able to obscure.
I can’t wait to learn more about the wild plants growing in my area. I feel lucky to start my foraging journey during springtime and be able to observe the whole life cycle of many of them!
Green wishes to all of you!