A captivating and lyrical journey into our ancestral past, through what and how we eat.
Mo Wilde made a quiet but radical pledge: to live only off free, foraged food for an entire year. In a world disconnected from its roots, eating wild food is both culinary and healing, social and political. Ultimately, it is an act of love and community. Using her expert knowledge of botany and mycology, Mo follows the seasons to find nutritious food from hundreds of species of plants, fungi and seaweeds, and in the process learns not just how to survive, but how to thrive. Nourishing her body and mind deepens her connection with the earth – a connection that we have become estranged from but which we all, deep down, hunger for.
This hunger is about much more than food. It is about accepting and understanding our place in a natural network that is both staggeringly complex and beautifully simple. The Wilderness Cure is a diary of a wild experiment; a timely and inspiring memoir which explores a deeper relationship between humans and nature, and reminds us of the important lost lessons from our past.
Monica ‘Mo’ Wilde is the author of The Wilderness Cure: Ancient Wisdom in a Modern World. Mo is a forager, research herbalist, author and ethnobotanist. She has been teaching foraging since 2005 but has had a lifelong passion for plants. Mo has a Masters degree in herbal medicine, is a Fellow of the Linnean Society, a member of the Association of Foragers, a member of the British Mycological Society and a member of the International Lyme and Associated Diseases Society (ILADS). Monica Wilde lives in Scotland in a self-built eco house, encouraging medicinal and foraging species to thrive in a wild, teaching garden. She also teaches and lectures on wild foods, plants, fungi and algae.
"The Wilderness Cure, her diary of the year, is many things: an unpreachy manifesto, a recipe book, a celebration of friendship, a passionate love song to the wild, a textbook of empathy, a cabinet of ecological curiosities, a masterclass in how to tread softly, a survival guide, a journal of quiet epiphanies, a primer on the art of relationship, a meditation on the significance of mycelial networks, a map of the collective unconscious, an impeccably researched account of many of the medical perils of modernity, an inquiry into the healing power of the natural world and an evolving reflection on what it means to be a human [...] The Wilderness Cure is a triumph: brave, candid, kind, heartbroken by our stupidity and rapacity, suffused with the pain of bereavement at our loss of relationship with the non-human world, but suffused too with hope. For there is a way back. We'd better find it soon."
"With the seductively readable style that comes only from the light poetism of wisdom and knowledge speaking from the heart, Monica Wilde relates the story of a year eating nothing but wild food. The result is a masterly work of information and erudition, one from which I am still buzzing with the pleasure of its reading."
– John Wright, author of The Forager's Calendar
"Mo Wilde's story of foraging for food and medicine is an inspiration to us all. She brings home the need so many of us have for the wild redeemer as a part of our diet and our lives."
– Stephen Harrod Buhner, author of the bestselling Herbal Antibiotics and Earth Grief: The Journey Into and Through Ecological Loss
"Fascinating, inspiring, brave and beautifully written – all is not lost."
– Gill Meller, author of Outside: Recipes for a Wilder Way of Eating
"Mo Wilde has retraced [our ancestors] steps. [...] A delightfully humble, funny and wise guide, [Mo] leaves tentative footprints for us to follow. Perhaps if we do that, we can all make it home in time."
– Miles Irving, author of the Forager Handbook, Ebury press, and host of the World Wild podcast
"Mo Wilde's year is an inspiration. What an incredible woman and an even more impressive book."
– Cat Thomson, The Scotsman food and drink writer
"This book is utterly fascinating, and written in a wildly refreshing manner. Though embarking on such a wholesome journey, Mo doesn't sugar-coat the difficulties however, she also celebrates the many positive sides, [offering] advice on how we could better live, without ever preaching."
– Michael Perry, 'The Plant Geek', Garden Media Guild award winner and author of Hortus Curious
"The person who returns [from this journey] is not the same. Something else has returned with her, something that now lives in the world and is food for the soul's journey."
– Julie McIntyre, author of The Confluence of Gaia, Plant Medicine and The Human Soul