PhD project: Wild Harvesting in Kent - human-nature interactions along the Kent coastline
Foraged foods enjoy a particularly ‘gourmand’ status among the gastronomic markets in urban Euro-American contexts due to consumer interests in local, artisanal and sustainable foodways. In the UK, foraging as a livelihood has grown exponentially over the past decade with increasing numbers of individuals making a living by foraging commercially to supply the restaurant trade or through teaching foraging through field and online courses. As a result of the growing interest and demand in ‘wild’ food, environmental authorities have become increasingly concerned that wild harvesting could be unsustainable. This research examines the cultural and environmental significance of wild harvesting along the Kent coastline in the UK and critically examines the question of its sustainability.
The new foraging movement intersects with cultural, political, environmental and economic domains, making it both a complex and dynamic area to study. Adopting a multidisciplinary methodology that includes critical human geography, environmental anthropology and human ecology, the research focuses on coastal habitats and the plant, marine algae and marine mollusc populations that are wild harvested from these areas. To understand the socio-ecological significance of foraging as an articulation of human-nature relations, professional foragers, members of the public and conservation professionals will be interviewed for their views on foraging as a sustainable 21st century practice.
Holly Harris is a member of the Durrell Institute of Conservation and Ecology.
Vice-Chancellor's Scholarship, University of Kent