by Antonia Barreau, Global Environments Summer Academy 2012 alum
Hi, I’m Antonia Barreau, an ethnobotanist and a wild food gatherer. I like to understand the relationships between plants and people living in forest ecosystems. I dedicate myself to investigating and documenting traditional knowledge of the local flora and fungi. Currently I work on projects associated with family gardens and gathering, with food sovereignty as a core concept. Originally from Santiago, I have lived for some time in Pucón with Tomas and our children Nahuel and Kai, with whom we share long walks collecting what the season offers us.
In the monte, as the forest in the south of Chile is called locally, live numerous plants and fungi that have been part of the local cuisine for centuries. Today, however, only a few of these edible species are known and consumed. [The project] ‘From the Monte to the Kitchen’ will explore and highlight the value the cultural and natural heritage present in the Mapuche and peasant cuisine of the temperate forest landscapes of Chile. This will be accomplished by researching and documenting the traditional use of edible species in the Andean Araucanía and innovating recipes with little-explored species. As culture is constantly adapting and changing, indigenous and peasant cuisine can be revisited and innovated upon without losing the origin, history, seasonality and diversity of products. We also seek to bring people closer to the native flora and forests of the region by recognizing their contribution to local food sovereignty. In this way, we contribute to their care and conservation for future generations since knowing is valuing and caring.
Understanding that the gathering of wild foods is seasonal, we will keep pace with the annual harvesting schedule of the different species. Thus, we are spending a year researching, gathering and cooking with our native wild edibles.
We invite you to join us on this culinary journey From the Monte to the Kitchen!
Del Monte a la Cocina is funded by the National Fund for Cultural Development and Arts, FONDART Regional, 2017 Call, Line Gastronomy and Culinary Art.
It is only in the past few years that the consumption of wild foods and home cooking based on foraging have come into vogue. There are still not many people, however, who gather these delicious and organic foods that nature–in this case, the forest—gives us. Here we share ten good reasons why you should go out to gather and get a good walk at the same time. Here we are not talking about harvesting for profit, but a kind of foraging that brings us closer to our natural environment and to the idea of eating wild foods.
They are free. The collection of local flora can provide you with very nutritious foods, most of the time organic and at zero cost. How much do you spend buying a kilo of myrtle berries?