Brecon Beacons Foraging inspires the next generation of food finders
Music industry career-changer swaps star bands for wild food
Adele Nozedar swapped a successful career with a London music label to teach people how to forage for food in the Brecon Beacons, and she wouldn’t change her new life in the country for anything.
On social media, she calls herself @hedgerowguru, and she is now one of the UK’s leading authors of foraging books, which are sold in Book-ish in Crickhowell. Adele runs foraging courses for children, and botanical gin and botanical perfume workshops for adults in the local area. She also writes articles and gives cooking demos and lectures from her Usk Valley home.
Adele explains: “I was partner in an indie music label called Rhythm King, I came to Wales to see a band, and ended up moving here. To begin with, I went back to London during the week and frantically tried to do up a house in Wales at the weekends. We sold the label to BMG and I became General Manager of Arista UK – the corporate world was extremely lucrative but it wasn’t a great fit with my personality. When my contract in London came to an end, I built a recording studio in Wales, got a publishing deal to write books and this changed my life; now, foraging forms a major part of how I choose to spend my time”.
So why foraging, and what is it? “Foraging is being able to identify edible wild plants and show people how to use them” Adele said. “It’s something that people have done for at least 22,000 years but have largely stopped doing over the last generation and a half. Now there is a distinct resurgence for foraging and sourcing food locally because people want to regain a sense of connection with their place and their food. If people can learn about a few wild ingredients that are common, easy to find and have been used as foods for thousands of years, then there’s an immediate reconnection with our history. If you stand in an ancient woodland full of wild garlic, there’s a very good chance that you are standing in the exact same place doing the exact same thing, foraging, as someone did years before. For me, that thought gives me goosebumps.”
But can you make a living out of it? “Yes you can,” she says: “You have to be quite inventive and imaginative, which suits me. I never know what’s round the corner – from foraging in most of the Stately Homes around the UK to working with a literacy project in Merthyr. I love the variety”
Adele also consults for establishments who want to source locally-sourced, sustainable ingredients. But she doesn’t forage to sell ingredients to restaurants (supply foraging) as some others do.
“I just love teaching and showing people what’s under their feet,” Adele said: “I particularly love teaching children because if they are taught to respect the world from a young age, then hopefully that will stay with them.”
Adele charges between £25 and £35 per person for her courses, with discounts for groups. She acknowledges that she did take a significant cut in income when she changed career: “But I have a really lovely lifestyle, I spend lots of time outside, and my work/life balance is really good. Doing what I do this is a reward in itself, the fact that I can make money out of it is the icing on the cake.”
Details of Adele’s books and courses can be found on her website.
Text and picture by Tim Jones, As You See It Media