Meet Craig Worrall, Leeds-based character and half, and professional forager!
I first came across Craig when I contacted the Leeds Permaculture Network to ask if any members were interested in being subjects for the Feeding Body and Soul project. Lizzie Fellows who was co-ordinating the network at that time put me in contact with Craig, permaculturist by training and inclination, and wild food forager combined.
We met up for an initial chat at Nichols Vegetarian Delicatessen in Chapel Allerton – Craig’s suggested location. An hour or so flew by seated in this wonderful little cafe and deli in conversation with not only a committed environmentalist but somebody who was aspiring to make a living out of foraging. As his website says, Craig is passionate about collecting, eating, preserving and experimenting with wild foods, and through his business, suitably called Edible Leeds, he offers wild food and fungi walks and courses, wild food foraging adventures, and courses and events on preserving, cooking, and identification. As such I found he was someone with a quite unique connection with the natural world. Many of us observe and seek a dialogue with that world, but here was somebody whose very existence was seemingly dependent upon a mutually symbiotic relationship, one which goes beyond mere dialogue and into interdependence.
Craig offered the opportunity to go with him on one of his local forays, and so it was I met him early one morning on Weetwood Lane just outside of the grounds of Oxley Hall, the University of Leeds residences. This is a wonderfully wooded part of Leeds and over the next couple of hours I was introduced to the culinary delights that abound there, in particular the ground elders, sorrels and wild garlic. The experience of Craig moving through the garlic and extracting fabulously succulent aromatic leaves could not though be adequately captured by mere photographs – the almost overpowering aroma released by the leaves beneath his feet was something else altogether!
Great local outing. Wit, humour, philosophy, intellectual challenge, woodland glades and most importantly a terrific insight into the wild food that is within the reach of virtually all of us if only we used it.
[Double clicking on any of the images below will open up that image up in a slideshow format. You can then run the slide show using ‘left’ and ‘right’ buttons. Personally I prefer to go also to full screen having opened the slide show – F11 on my PC, don’t forget to get out of full screen is the same button , not ESC]