“Come for a walk. Listen to my story and share yours so that we can all rejoice in awe of the wonderful narratives of nature.”
And so that’s exactly what I did last Saturday with Diego Bonetto – The Weedy One on Instagram – and one of the most knowledgeable food experts I have come across.
Diego’s short story is about gathering and knowing our food, fresh and seasonally from the fields. At the same time, he advocates for caring of our natural resources.
These skills Diego obtained from his mother, in Piedmontese, in north-west Italy.
When Diego arrived in Australia in the mid 1990s, he soon learnt that his knowledge was a rare practice practice in contemporary society. He sensed in people a longing to rekindle their untapped connection to nature.
Diego’s services to connect with nature
And so, he introduced the art of connecting with living with nature through workshops, events, school tours and art. Diego also works with people in the hospitality industry – chefs, cooks – to rediscover the flavours of nature.
Diego is also currently collaborating with developers, web producers, foragers and horticulturalists to create Wild Food Map. It is a community to identify public domain food and medicine plants living in the landscape.
And keep an eye out, coming soon – the Wildfood Store. It is a platform for connecting farmers and chefs while providing an avenue for up-cycling the by-product of agricultural practices: weeds.
My foraging with Diego
Here are some of the beautiful things I learnt during my forage with Diego.
- Nature’s bounty are plants that grow around us in abundance.
- Chickweed can be added in salads and used as an external treatment for skin conditions. It also helps reduce inflammation.
- The leaves of African Olive Tree can be used to make Olive Oil extract and boost immunity. This tree is almost extinct in Africa but is considered a weed in Australia!
- Camphor Tree. Now this blew my mind! Vapour rub is made from this. Camphor is also an effective insecticide. But, it is considered invasive in NSW and you can be fined if it is found in your backyard.
- Shepherd’s Purse has many uses, from food to cosmetics and traditional medicine.
Find out more
Visit Diego’s website to book your own natural adventure: http://www.diegobonetto.com/