How can design help us to reconnect with nature and improve our mental health?
This project is a personal exploration into urban foraging as a way of learning about our local environment and helping to calm lockdown anxieties.
Throughout the first lockdown in the UK I used foraging as a way of getting out of the house and reaping the benefits of being in nature. This process allowed me to learn more about the flora in my local environment and remove my ‘plant blindness’ whilst also gaining some tasty treats.
I hope to use the process of urban foraging to reverse Pyle’s negative “Extinction of Experience” that can be seen below and turn this process into my more positive “Foraging for Experience”.
I started by mapping and recording all the different plants that I could forage on a local footpath near my home; this was constantly changing and adapting as I gradually discovered more edible plants along this footpath.
I was also interested to see what other people were using this public footpath for, noting that on all my walks I never saw anyone else foraging.
While conducting my research I discovered different terms that have been created to describe the disappearing connection between humans and other species. Richard Louv uses the term “Nature Deficit Disorder” to describe how a lack of nature in our lifestyles can affect our mental health.
This led me to produce the following diagram and accompanying short films to highlight the importance foraging can have on our health due to how it helps us to reconnect with nature.
Please paste the link below the image into a new web browser window to be prescribed your own lockdown remedy: