Ask Amber Westfall of The Wild Garden what her relationship is with the wild plants she gathers for food and medicine and she will describe herself as a steward of her environment. Her goal is to harvest plants in such a way that is not only ethical but has a beneficial impact over time.
The Wild Garden is a small business Amber started over 4 years ago, borne out of passion for wild edible and medicinal plants. Her own interest began when she started supplementing her diet with wild foods in an effort to stretch the availability of local produce in the short growing season. Dandelion, nettles, plantain, lamb’s quarters and amaranth are some of the first plants to appear in early spring and the last to die before the frost.
Amber spent over a decade studying and working with wild edible and healing plants before turning it into her livelihood. Today, The Wild Garden offers educational programs for children and adults, workshops and plant walks that introduce people to common weedy plants that grow everywhere and can be used for food and medicine. On a half-acre of certified organic land at the Just Food farm in Blackburn Hamlet, Amber grows and gathers plants to create useful products that are sold in monthly herbal boxes and mailed to her clients.