Forage! Blog

Forage! is the Society of Ethnobiology’s newest venue for gathering ideas and knowledge, fostering the ethnobiological community and movements. We encourage members to submit content from all expressive dimensions including intellectual, creative, and activist ones (e.g., art, stories, literature, poetry, pictures). Board members from the Society moderate the blog. We invite all SOE members and the general public to submit blog posts here: We welcome comments from members and the general public.

Image policy: all contributors must assert that they have appropriate permissions to use all images that appear in their posts. We recommend that all images posted either 1) have a Creative Commons license, 2) be public domain, or 3) be the original copyrighted work of the contributor.

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After waking up from a nap during the hottest part of the day in Vietnam’s Mekong River Delta, I join Mr. Văn and Mrs. Thủy, a husband and wife rice farming couple, as they cut and prepare lemongrass stalks for sale in the local market.

Sometimes, you can fight city hall.  Ethnobiologist Myrdene Anderson discusses lawsuits, public action, and withcraft in her long fight to keep her lawn wild in West Lafayette, Indiana.

Kakapel Rockshelter, Western Kenya

If you have ever taken even a passing interest in the origins of agriculture, you have probably heard of the Farming/Language Dispersal Hypothesis. This is the theory that the world’s most widely-spoken language families are associated with the rapid expansion of farming societies into lands previously occupied by hunter-gatherers.

Much of our daily work as ethnobiologists asks how social and environmental relationships are built, sustained, and broken. I’m much better trained in social science than in botany, but as an ethnobiologist researching the connections between the clothing we wear and sustainable farming in the field, I also pay close attention to the ecological needs of the plants and animals living alongside farmers.

Whether you’re a longtime Society of Ethnobiology (SoE) member or have recently discovered our community, we would like to invite you to attend our annual meeting this summer in beautiful Madison, Wisconsin, June 3-7! When this many ethnobiologists muster, there is sure to be plenty of food eating, medicine making, seed swapping, storytelling, and music making (really, bring your instruments or at least your game face). You don’t want to miss it.

Here are 7 great reasons to join us this year:

As much of the United States experiences a dramatic cold snap (or, bomb cyclone as the US media has delicately labelled it), the Ethnobiology Forage! Blog is kicking off the new year with some of our favorite homemade ethnobotanical cures for colds, flus, and other wintertime blues.

The Christmas tree has always been especially revered in my family. The seriousness of our yearly ritual was instilled by my father, who is a tyrant on all matters tree related. My mother tells the story of their first Christmas together, normally a blissful event for newlyweds, when my father became apoplectic over my mother’s indiscriminant tinseling of the tree.

Now, being an ethnobotanist

     Is not all that different

From being a musician,

      Ballerina or chef:


You’ve got to practice

       Your licks and chops,

Your forms and foot positions

       Your dicing, slicing

And making a roux

        Every day (or else)

You get rusty.


No one I know

        Likes a rusty ethnobotanist

One who is constantly hoping