Grocery stores in America are running out of food. It’s no secret. If you’ve gone to any grocery store recently, you’ve most likely seen how the meat aisles are pretty empty. Even though the government has tried to force workers in the meat industry to show up to their jobs despite the unprecedented levels of COVID-19 infection in the meat-packing plants, these workers are sick and unable to show up to work – which has caused a disastrous shortage in the meat industry.

Now, more moms are foraging for food than ever before. Because they want their family to be able to eat healthy and nutritious meals in the time of COVID-19, they are turning to nature to get enough food on their plates since the food industry has failed.

While the grocery store aisles near her family’s home are empty, 38-year-old mother Joanna Ruminska has found a way to provide food for her hungry children. She spends fourteen hours each week, scavenging for food around her community. And because she lives in an area ripe with abundant options, she picks mushrooms, wild garlic, and elderflower, among others.

Joanna, a mother of two, has started foraging for food since the COVID-19 pandemic has altered her family life forever. Now, among the pandemic, half of her family’s diet comes from the food she finds in her local community.

Joanna worked as a teacher before she transitioned to life as a forager. She moved from Poland to the United Kingdom back in 2006 and has not looked back.

“If the stores closed tomorrow and there were no deliveries, we could survive off the produce in the countryside and in our garden,” she said. “I’m lucky to live within walking distance of the forest, and I can get all the ingredients there if I’m desperate. I grew up in the Polish countryside, and I’ve been foraging for as long as I can remember, but I’m the only one in the family who took it to the next level. Over half of what my family and I eat is now sourced from our natural surroundings.”

Joanna spends a lot of her time hunting for food in the forest and around her home.

“I either forage the ingredients from woodlands near my house, make trips to the coast to for things like sea beet and seaweed, or grow certain vegetables and fruit which need cultivating in my garden,” she said. “I try and go out and forage every day. It’s my exercise. I grab a basket, and sometimes I make a list like a shopping list, but instead of searching for the ingredients in the supermarket, I go searching for them in the countryside. I spend about two hours a day foraging, but if I go further afield, it can be a full day out.”

Joanna has gotten her whole family excited about foraging for their meals.

“My daughters love to join because they go off looking for their favorite flowers, like elderflower.”

Would you start foraging because of the pandemic?

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