Information: food outdoors

Information on the theory and practice of food & cooking outdoors – from case studies to policies, examples of forms, documents & handouts, research and articles, and much more to support your theoretical explorations into the outdoors.

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Reports, articles, research etc are, as much as possible, arranged in chronological order, most recent at the top.

Food outdoors

James Woods picking elderJames Wood is a professional, experimental wild food forager based in the UK; he runs wild food foraging and cookery courses. 

Along with cooking out in the elements, foraging is a key component of food outdoors. James shares a little of his knowledge with us here:

What is foraging?

Foraging is the art of collecting food from the wild. I believe it’s a fantastic opportunity to top up your regular diet with healthy, local foods that are amazingly high in nutrients, minerals and flavour. As well as being able to connect on a deeper level with your local landscapes throughout the seasons.

What does it involve?

Practically, foraging involves baring the elements and ground type to go and find your lunch or dinner. On a more relaxed note, foraging can easily be achieved as an addition to a family stroll in the park, weekend in the lakes or as you take the dog out for your daily walk.

Who can get involved?

Foraging is for everyone – I’ve taken kids out over a period of weeks foraging and now they’re able to confidently teach their parents what’s safe and isn’t safe to eat.

Benefits to participants

The benefits are massive – not only are you interacting in a positive way with your natural surrounding wild spaces, you’re also able to be physically involved with the changing seasons and end up with extremely fresh, local produce that, in my opinion, is better than organic!

Where can we do it?

Foraging can take place anywhere (most people are shocked to hear I once ran a foraging course in Canary Wharf, London). Ideally you want to be at least 100 metres from a road and on land that you know will not have been sprayed with pesticides.

On the side of foraging law – you require the land owner’s permission if you wish to dig up any roots of plants.

Good practice

It’s good practice to talk to the land owner before you forage anything from their land. I like to give some of the produce I collect back to the land owner in the form of jams and chutneys.

Only take what you require and try to keep your picking to no more than 20% of what’s available at the site.

A Foraging and Wild Food Cookbook , by James Wood

is available in the Muddy Faces shop.

Thanks very much to James Wood.

Find out more about James & his work at:

Totally Wild Uk Logo

The Wilderness Barista’s Handbook: How to Brew (Good) Coffee Outdoors

A very comprehensive guide, from choosing, roasting & grinding your own beans, to the chemistry of brewing and how to do it outdoors. From Camping Cooks (US), 16 May 2019.

10 Ways to Teach Children about Where Their Food Comes From

“Ways that parents can help to connect their children with the outdoors in general and farming in particular.” Farmer’s Wife & Mummy, 6 July 2017.

Top 10 Things to Forage in Autumn

From forager Matt Normansell. ‘For me the ‘best’ things to forage for, as a beginner, are things that can be found, identified and prepared simply and easily.’ And Here We Are, September 2014.

The young pupils who think farms grow mud

One in six children is also unaware vegetables are grown there, survey finds
Nearly half of primary school children have never visited a working farm and one in 25 believes that farmers ‘grow mud’. A new poll has revealed widespread ignorance of the countryside and origins of food.’ Mail Online, 14 July 2014. 

Ovens – cob, solar and more

Building a cob oven – from website Sourdough, November 2009.
The Cob Oven Project: DIY Outdoor Kitchen/Pizza Oven, c2010
The Simple Art of Making an Earth Oven (1 March 2002) – just one of many useful articles from Permaculture magazine – have an explore!

Foraging Guide

‘Woodlands are great places to find wild food, but make sure you collect responsibly. With our guide you can forage sustainably without harming woods or wildlife.’ Month-by-month guide from the Woodland Trust.

Guidelines for responsible foraging

‘Forage sustainably and responsibly, and make sure you stay safe and within the law. Follow our responsible foraging guidelines when you’re out and about.’ From the Woodland Trust.

Tips for Foraging

From us at Muddy Faces. ‘It’s easy to get carried away – be mindful of how you are collecting and the effect your foraging could have.’

Wild Foraging – Best Practices For Personal Safety And Sustainability

Explores some of the mistakes people make when foraging, with questions to consider before you start, factors to take into account, and tips on how to safely and ethically develop a foraging practice. From We Are Wildness, 14 June 2017.


Our food outdoors links page signposts you to the main national bodies, key organisations, initiatives and websites in the world of food, foraging and cooking outdoors.

Have a browse – there are tons of links to loads of interesting, important & inspiring organisations!

Sections include:

Crabbing & fishing
Cooking outdoors
Food prep & cooking general
Foraging & wild food
National organisations
Organic & sustainable food

For information on growing your own food outdoors, visit our Growing & Gardens information page.

The Effect of a Summer Garden Program on the Nutritional Knowledge, Attitudes, and Behaviors of Children

“Fifty-six children were included in a study that evaluated the effectiveness of a garden program designed to teach health and nutrition to second through fifth grade-level children. The specific objectives of the research project were to evaluate the effect of the program on nutritional knowledge of the benefits of eating fruit and vegetables, nutritional attitudes toward fruit and vegetables, and eating behaviors of children, specifically consumption of fruit and vegetables.” American Society for Horticultural Science, 2006.