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 to submit blog posts here: We welcome comments from members and the general public.


Weaving global history and ethnobiology

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.

A Massive Muster of Ethnobiologists to be Held in Madison: Why You Should Be There

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:

Ethnobotanical cures for colds, flus, and wintertime blues

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.

Evergreens for the darkest days: The ancient roots of Christmas trees

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.

To be an ethnobiologist

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

Green Islands for All? Avoiding Climate Gentrification in the Caribbean

Hurricane Irma turns the Caribbean brown.  Credit:  NASA Earth Observatory images by Joshua Stevens, using Landsat data from the U.S. Geological Survey, September 11, 2017.

A curious quest to rediscover lost crops

An a hot August day in 2014, I found myself armpit deep in weeds and grasses on a creek bank in central Arkansas, following my friend Liz Horton as she swept the ground in front of us with a stick to scare off snakes. Kelsey Nordine brought up the rear, mastering her life-long ophidiophobia by dint of dedication to our common goal: to rediscover a lost crop. I remember this day as the spiritual beginning of my lost crops research, a journey of discovery that would transform me into the world expert on one unobtrusive little plant, erect knotweed.

Field Notes: Ethnobiology, Immigration, and our Shared Responsibility

Yesterday the United States government began debating the fate of hundreds of thousands of young people granted protection from deportation by the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program.  Much of this debate will rightly focus on the numerous contributions that immigrants bring to the United States, although perhaps not nearly enough speakers will recognize the need for compassion, empathy, responsibility, or address the hypocrisy that surrounds the i

3 Things Ethnobiologists Can Do to Defeat White Supremacy

The perspectives of white supremacists have gotten a lot of air time this week, and it is a good time to think about what we can do refute and discredit them, and to support the communities they seek to victimize. Many ethnobiologists are people of color who bravely do the work of standing up to white supremacy every day –  society members like ethnobotanist Linda Black Elk, of the Medic + Healer Council that kept water protectors safe and healthy at Standing Rock.