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An introduction to foragingTaught by Miles Irving

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I can’t think of a more immediate and vital way for people to be reintegrated with their ecosystems than collecting and eating wild food.

  • Deep understanding of foraging philosophy

  • Common plants to forage

  • How to harvest

  • You'll learn some tasty dishes


The foraging trend seems particularly salient in the climate of unacceptable food waste and the demands from supermarkets for perfection. In this course you learn the philosophy behind foraging from the leading supplier of wild foods to the world’s top restaurants. You’ll get to know the common plants that can form the basis for tasty meals, wherever you are in the world. You’ll understand the context of foraging, how to harvest, and how to cook wild produce.

Miles Irving is generally regarded by the top chefs in the world, as the go-to foraging expert. His company, Forager Ltd, supplies The Ivy, Heston Blumenthal, The Ledbury and other acclaimed and Michelin starred restaurants.

The Curriculum

  • 1. Philosophy of Foraging

    Animals are what they are, have their identity in how they relate to their surroundings. The nature of a species lies in one sense in having a particular kind of relatedness to particular surroundings. This identity roots them in a place. And of course we ourselves are animals, who evolved to have such deep delving roots into places, evolved to occupy a particular ecological niche, although it is clear that we are presently not occupying it. This is because the roots, the vital connections which formerly linked us to our surroundings have one by one been severed. We are living in self-imposed exile from our own ecological niche! In lesson 1 we begin to understand how foraging, harvesting and cooking the food in our local habitats is part of our identity as humans. And it should be preserved and passed down through generations.

  • 2. Plants in your immediate environment

    As the great ethnobotanist Jack Harlan once said, “wild plants thrive in the absence of human disturbance: fully domesticated races are so modified genetically that they cannot survive without human care.” Somewhere in the middle there are a lot of plants which thrive because of human disturbance but require little or no care. Many of the plants which farmers spend a small fortune trying to eradicate with petrochemical herbicides are highly nutritious wild food plants which could instead be harvested and eaten. We are beginning to persuade some of our local farmers not to spray, so that we can harvest some of these plants, although in many parts of the world this is standard practice. At Abbot’s Hall Farm in Essex, the Essex Wildlife Trust removed the sea wall and salt marsh is becoming re-established. They now have a large Samphire crop which requires no further work and is harvested to supply the local fishmongers. Nettles are another self sustaining resource, one which can be used for food, medicine and fibre (it was once the major fibre crop in Europe) as well as being a host plant to many species of butterfly.

    There are plenty more wild food sources which suggest the kind of role foraging could have in the future. In this lesson we will identify four key plants globally that are found in most environments. We will look at how to locate and understand them. And you will learn how to harvest and cook in lessons 3 and 4.

  • 3. Harvesting

    In lesson three we take a deep dive on harvesting. In this lesson you will see Miles harvesting the plants we’ve learnt about, understand about their seasonality and how to harvest to ensure that your plants are regenerating so you can come back time and time again.

  • 4. Cooking

    Miles will prepare several dishes with the harvested wild produce. This will give you the basis for how to cook locally harvested wild produce, and give you a great foundation to go onto learn more about foraging and how to cook effectively with the wild food in your locality.

Meet your expert tutor

Miles Irving has been seeking out and selling foraged produce for over 10 years. Among the top British restauranteurs who sell the fruit, vegetables and herbs Miles delivers to their doors are Jamie ...read more

Why you'll love learning here

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