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Jackson County Master Gardener seminar to focus on edible wild plants

By Victoria Advocate
June 17, 2014 at 1:17 a.m.


The Jackson County Master Gardeners will hold a free "Come Grow With Us" seminar at 1 p.m. June 28 in the Jackson County Chamber of Commerce and Agriculture building, 317 W. Main St., Edna.

For the third year in a row Mark "Merriwether" Vorderbruggen, of Houston, will speak. He will discuss edible wild plants.

Vorderbruggen said he "has been a forager all his life," having learned the skill as a child at his mother's side. Knowing how to access nature's free grocery store fed him through the poverty years spent getting a master's degree in medicinal chemistry and a Ph.D. in physical organic chemistry.

Vorderbruggen, who spends his weekends foraging for wild edible plants, has also taught classes since 2008 on the subject at the Houston Arboretum. He holds classes at parks and nature preserves. He enjoys "guiding people back to nature's wonderful bounty," not only teaching them which plants are edible and have historically been used medicinally but also proselytizing how contact with nature via foraging heals the body, mind and soul. To learn more about Vorderbruggen, go to www.foragingtexas.com.

The seminar will include foraging rules and ethics, recommended books and gear and even a show-and-tell portion in which attendees get an up-close look at the plants. Turk's cap, spiderwort, smartweed and the prickly ash/toothache tree are some of the plant varieties that will be up for discussion, as the Houston area has about 60 edible wild plants at any given time of the year. He will discuss how to prepare them, their medicinal uses, toxicity and what to look out for. He encourages those interested to bring paper and pens for notes and cameras to document plant samples.

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