Weeds give lots of food for thought

Holly ThompsonManjimup-Bridgetown Times
Terra Perma ecological educator Charles Otway with a selection of the weeds he discussed at the weekend workshop.
Camera IconTerra Perma ecological educator Charles Otway with a selection of the weeds he discussed at the weekend workshop. Credit: Holly Thompson

Manjimup community garden was alive with activity at the weekend, with a workshop teaching people about weeds which can be found in backyards or farms and which of those are edible.

The workshop, run through the Terra Perma group, had more than a dozen people in attendance who wanted to learn more about what they may have in their own backyards.

Terra Perma ecological educator Charles Otway, who ran the workshop, said people from as far as Nannup attended the event.

“There is two levels of interest for me on weeds, one is the function of weeds and how they work in nature, in human landscapes and why they can be a problem for us,” he said.

“The other side of the workshop today, which I think will be of the most interest to everyone is the edibility of the weeds.”

Mr Otway said one example of a common edible weed was flaxweed.

“People are always trying to get them out of their lawns but traditionally in Greece or France they would blanch them and then pan fry them to make a salad,” he said.

He said he hoped through teaching workshops such as this one he could help people appreciate weeds.

“When we call something a weed we position ourself antagonistic to it because the definition of weed is a plant out of place,” he said. “As we learn weeds can have many uses and are not always a problem, although certain ones, especially declared weeds are, this understanding changes.”

Mr Otway said he had more workshops in the pipeline which he hoped to host in community gardens or even people’s backyards.

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