Ep. 41: Edulis Wild Foods - Foraging Mushrooms and Restoring Vital Connection in the UK Isles (feat. Lisa Cutcliffe)

Today on Mushroom Hour we are excited to sit down and chat with Lisa Cutcliffe from Leeds, Yorkshire in the UK. Lisa is the founder, foraging-guide-in-chief and all-round mushroom-nut at Edulis Wild Foods. With a degree in biology, being a keen gardener, veg grower, and having a lifelong fascination with nature and wildlife, she is interested in all aspects of wild food and medicinals.   

As we explore the wilds of Leeds in England, we find a younger Lisa poking around the woods between classes at university. Her curiosity about using edible mushrooms in cooking led her down a pre-Internet road of discovery, seeking out information about mysterious kingdom fungi. It was the quest for her first porcini that brought her from Leeds to the "New Forest" in the South of England and set her down the path of edible mushrooms and wild food.   

Her love of mushrooms branched out into a love of plant foraging as she was determined to find edible foods across every season. Her journey came to a traumatic inflection point as a diving accident damaged her back and crippled her ability to go abroad and engage in the physical activity that was her passion. However, the regeneration from this experience pushed her to explore the UK Isles and rediscover herself, open up her love of wild foods and connect with an incredible community of wild mushroom and plant enthusiasts across the UK. How can foraging be used as a form of physical and emotional therapy to help us recover from trauma?   

Pursuing her passion for wild foods more intensively, Lisa felt the call to "find the others"! After connecting with and learning alongside other UK wild food experts, she became a founding member of the Association of Foragers - a network that provides collective support for professional foragers guided by an ethos of "Restoring Vital Connection". This influence and the community she was now a part of inspired Lisa to create her own wild foods business - Edulis Wild Foods.   

We'll take a walk in the shoes of a professional foraging educator and learn keen insights about the responsibility and realities of such a path. How do you know when you're ready to start teaching others? How does one balance a day job with the commitment to being a professional educator? For Lisa the most satisfying part of sharing her love of wild foods is seeing her students reconnect with nature and remember the ancestral connection they have to their land.   

Directed, Recorded, Produced by: Mushroom Hour

Music by: Ancient Baby (https://peckthetowncrier.bandcamp.com/)   
Art by: Wyn Di Stefano (http://www.wyndistefano.com/)   

Episode Resources
Edulis Wild Foods (website): http://www.eduliswildfood.co.uk/   
Lisa Cutcliffe (IG): https://www.instagram.com/eduliswildfood/   
Association of Foragers (UK): https://foragers-association.org/   
Craterellus cornucopioides (mushroom): https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Craterellus_cornucopioides   
Chlorociboria aeruginascens (mushroom): https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chlorociboria_aeruginascens   

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