We all depend upon plants for food. Here are resources to grow food and forage it in your backyard and beyond.
Appalachian Food. n.p.: ABC-CLIO, LLC, 2013. Gale Virtual Reference Library. Web.
Bennett, Chris. Southeast Foraging: 120 Wild and Flavorful Edibles from Angelica to Wild Plums. Timber Press, 2015. Print.
Brill, Steve, and Evelyn Dean. Identifying and Harvesting Edible and Medicinal Plants in Wild (and Not so Wild) Places. New York: Hearst, 1994. Print.
Cavender, Anthony. 2006. "Folk Medical Uses of Plant Foods in Southern Appalachia, United States.” Journal of Ethnopharmacology 108, no. 1 (November): 74-84.
This is another great work from Anthony Cavender, author of Folk Medicine in Southern Appalachia, an indispensable book to anyone studying folk healing in Appalachia. This journal article focuses on the information gathered from 660 native Appalachian inhabitants which indicated that plant foods, both cultivated and wild, made up the bulk of folk medicinal plants in the 1920s and 1930s.These plants were seen to cleanse and build various bodily systems and treat a variety of ailments. This work also includes useful tables describing the reported medicinal uses of various plant foods according to these interviews.
Cavender shows that Appalachian folk medicine seems to be focused on cleansing the blood and the bowel to maintain health through the uses of these various medicinal foods. In all, he takes the types of medicines offered and the ways in which they were talked about to draw some interesting conclusions about Appalachian Folk Medicine and it’s origins. He sees the focus on cleaning the blood and the bowel in this system to indicate an inspiration from the miasmatic theory of disease.
Through this and other factors, the Appalachian folk medicine system that views the condition of one’s blood as a direct indicator of health was born. He concludes with an examination of how these medicinal uses of food have fallen out of fashion, all except for apple cider vinegar and corn whiskey of course, which are still relied upon today. This work is valuable to the student of Appalachian food histories and food ways, as well as folk medicine in the first half of the 20th century in Appalachia.
Chamberlain, James L., et al. "Modeling Below-Ground Biomass To Improve Sustainable Management Of Actaea Racemosa, A Globally Important Medicinal Forest Product." Forest Ecology & Management 293.(2013): 1-8. Environment Complete. Web. 26 Oct. 2015.
Elias, Thomas S. Edible Wild Plants A North American Field Guide To Over 200 Natural Foods. n.p.: Sterling, 2009. Children's Literature Comprehensive Database. Web. 26 Oct. 2015.
Fernald, Merritt Lyndon, and Alfred C. Kinsey. Edible Wild Plants Of Eastern North America. n.p.: Cornwall-on-Hudson, N.Y., Idlewild Press c1943., 1943.
Hatter, Ila, et al. Mountain Kitchen. [Videorecording] : Lore, Legends And Real Uses Of Plants. n.p.: [Gatlinburg, Tenn.] : Great Smoky Mountains Association, c2003., 2003.
Hatter, Ila, et al. Mountain Kitchen. [Videorecording] : Uses Of Wild Edible & Medicinal Plants In The Southern Appalachians. n.p.: [Gatlinburg, Tenn.] : Great Smoky Mountains Association, , 2003.
Hatter, Ila. Wild Edibles & Medicinals Of Southern Appalachia. [Videorecording]. Ironweed Productions: Robbinsville, NC, 2000.
Gillespie, William H. A Compilation Of The Edible Wild Plants Of West Virginia. n.p.: New York, Scholar's Library , 1959.
Gillespie, William H. Wild Foods Of Appalachia. n.p.: Morgantown, W.Va. : Seneca Books, c1986., 1986. Library Catalog. Web. 26 Oct. 2015.
Lovelock, Yann. The Vegetable Book; An Unnatural History. n.p.: New York, St. Martin's Press [1973, c1972], 1973.
Peterson, Lee, and Roger Tory Peterson. A Field Guide to Edible Wild Plants of Eastern and Central North America. Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1977. Print.
Rivers, Bridgette, Robert Oliver, and Lynn Resler. "Pungent Provisions: The Ramp And Appalachian Identity. (Cover Story)." Material Culture. 46.1 (2014): 1-24. Art & Architecture Complete. Web. 26 Oct. 2015.
Rock, Janet H, Brian Beckage, and Louis J Gross. "Population Recovery Following Differential Harvesting Of Allium Tricoccum Ait. In The Southern Appalachians." Biological Conservation 116. (2004): 227-234. ScienceDirect. Web. 26 Oct. 2015.
Tatum, Billy Joe. Billy Joe Tatum's Wild Foods Cookbook And Field Guide. Workman Pub. Co.: New York, 1976.
Thayer, Samuel. The Forager's Harvest: A Guide to Identifying, Harvesting, and Preparing Edible Wild Plants. Ogema, WI: Forager's Harvest, 2006.
Thayer, Samuel. Nature's Garden: A Guide to Identifying, Harvesting, and Preparing Edible Wild Plants. Birchwood, WI: Forager's Harvest, 2010.
Veteto, James R. "Down Deep In The Holler: Chasing Seeds And Stories In Southern Appalachia." Journal Of Ethnobiology and Ethnomedicine 9.1 (2013): 69. MEDLINE. Web.
This scholarly essay is part of a larger group of vignettes called, “Recollections, Reflections, and Revelations: Ethnobiologists and their First Time in the Field,”and is a personal reflection by the researcher on his experience and involvement in kinship and friendship networks while conducting agrobiodiversity research in southern Appalachia. Veteto, and Appalachian State University graduate, begins by setting the core belief that this piece is contingent upon; that everything informal in Appalachia runs through kin and friendship networks. He outlines the various ways in which fieldwork in Appalachia is difficult due to a host of issues mostly revolving around Appalachian stereotypes, yet the authors honest assessment of his own ego and assumptions is refreshing and inspiring.
Through the telling of personal experiences Veteto had interacting with people in the field and how he either formed friendships with them or used friendships to gain access to interviews and knowledge, he shows the importance of these connections to a researcher in Southern Appalachia. These connections helped him to identify and quantify that the agrobiodiversity in Southern Appalachia was very high, and therefore worthy of conservation efforts. His experiences with a sudden death of a Cherokee interviewee and the significance that Veteto’s recordings of that man’s voice held to his family established the necessity to preserve and record knowledge of traditional vegetable varieties. He saw it as not just a method of preserving the horticultural knowledge, but of the person sharing it as well. His closing remarks drive the idea home that being open and friendly is the best way a researcher can open themselves to good, productive field experiences, as well as the multitude of unforeseen friendships and joys that interacting with new people can bring.
Veteto, James R. "Seeds Of Persistence: Agrobiodiversity In The American Mountain South." Culture, Agriculture, Food & Environment 36.1 (2014): 17-27. Academic Search Complete. Web.
Veteto, James R. "The History And Survival Of Traditional Heirloom Vegetable Varieties In The Southern Appalachian Mountains Of Western North Carolina." Agriculture And Human Values 25.1 (2008): 121-134. EconLit with Full Text. Web.
This scholarly article examines the history and persistence of heirloom vegetable varieties in Western North Carolina. Through interviews with 26 gardeners from 12 counties, 134 varieties were identified. The question of why Western North Carolina is such a unique agro-ecological region starts with its climate and geography and ends in its culture of isolation. These factors as well as the continuance of home-gardening, have made this region of Appalachia one of the areas of highest agrobiodiversity in the country according to the author.
Sadly, the changes in Appalachian culture, and the interruption of continuity in seed saving traditions have made the holders of the heirloom seeds few and far between in these communities. The discoveries made by Veteto in regards to the ages of the seed savers was also surprising, as he (as well as I) expected the mean age to be around 60, while it was instead between 40 - 49 years old. The older generation are not necessarily the ones holding the traditional seed varieties.
The purpose of this study was not only to identify those varieties of heirloom vegetables in cultivation, but also gather samples and make known these varieties outside of the small family groups preserving them. It is an important step in the seed preservation process especially when 134 vegetable varieties are identified in a 5 month study. If that does not demonstrate the agro-biodiversity of Appalachia, I don’t know what will. This study is useful for those looking to grow heirloom varieties in the South or for Ethnobotanists researching garden plants.
Wigginton, Eliot. Foxfire 4: Water Systems, Fiddle Making, Logging, Gardening, Sassafras Tea, Wood Carving, and Further Affairs of Plain Living. Garden City, NY: Anchor, 1977. Print.