Stephen Kerr has been foraging in Western MA for over 10 years, becoming familiar with the plants of the region. He leads plant walks year round, focusing on plants that provide more than just a trailside nibble.
Concerning my introduction to edible wild plants, the circumstances are a bit hazy in my memory, but what I do remember is the following:
At the time, I was a student at Umass Amherst. On no particular day, I decided to head to the Jones Library in downtown Amherst. I went in armed with a good deal of curiosity, and came out with a book. This book happened to be "The Forager's Harvest" by Sam Thayer. For those of you familiar with Mr. Thayer's writing, no more need be said. For the rest of you, all I can say is I chanced upon one of the grails of foraging knowledge in the modern world.
With knowledge in book form, I set out over the proceeding years with a simple goal; to become intimately familiar with each and every plant profiled in Sam Thayer's book (and his two subsequent books: "Nature's Garden" and "Incredible Wild Edibles").
I'm happy to report that I've managed to do exactly that. Mostly, anyway.* In the process, I've gained a deep love and appreciation for wild edible plants and all who live by them; the birds, the 'less edible' plants, the land itself, and sometimes even the people.
With the onset of Covid, I doubled down in my pursuit of foraging knowledge. I attended some classes with others leading walks, and began to feel ready to pass on my knowledge. And so I began a few casual plant walks with friends. I found, delightfully, that I can simultaneously teach others and learn more for myself, so there was simply no downside to upsizing my operation.
Ever since, I've been expanding the scope of my interest and investing more of my time into the pursuit of edible wild plant knowledge. It's been one of the most valuable investments in my life.
*I would be easily convinced to road trip to the prairies for a foraging expedition to find those non-New England plants.