The Blue Banner
April 8th, 2015
Asheville students have the opportunity to go wild and eat locally while weather warms as Alan Muskat leads groups of all ages into the outdoors surrounding Asheville to get a taste of nature.
“When you have a sense of home in nature, it is personally grounding and you really develop a sense of safety where you are,” says Muskat, CEO of No Taste Like Home.
Muskat teaches groups of about 5 to 15 people how to find, identify and eat edible fungi and plants in the forests of North Carolina. He said this wild food foraging adventure gives people a sense of home when they know what exists in their backyard.
“You may not feel safe and at home if you do not care about or love your friends and family in nature,” Muskat says.
According to Muskat, he led about 100 expeditions last year and will continue the adventures this year. The Princeton graduate says students may attend for free if there is room on a scheduled trip. Each trip lasts about three hours and tour locations vary.
A background in garage sales and bargain hunting sparked Muskat’s interest in being thrifty, and this transformed into being thrifty in the wild.
The organization also provides edible plants for many restaurants in the area that focus on local food sources, according to Muskat.
Rebekah Jopling manages tours and handles scheduling, marketing and outreach as the Administrative Director of No Taste Like Home.
“By now it is pretty well understood that we are far too removed from the sources of our food,” Jopling said. “The past decade or so has seen a revolution to reconnect with the land, with an explosion of small farms, school gardens and all manner of classes on growing and saving your own food.”
Jopling said when she learned of this business devoted to teaching the importance of wild foods and how to find them, especially the opportunity to integrate these lessons into public school curriculum, she contacted Muskat to find out how she could be involved.
“I remember being about eight or nine and learning that there was a plant in the woods that, if you dug up the root, you could use to make a drink that tasted just like root beer. I don’t even like root beer, but I just remember that blowing my mind.”