Long before people began planting their crops in straight, controlled rows, communities thrived and grew and flourished based on their ability to hunt and gather. They went out to the untamed places with the skills and earned knowledge of how to extract something nourishing to eat—and share.
Pulling a feast off of the landscape required becoming a part of that landscape and all of its intricate details. Knowing where the edible mushrooms grew, when the ripest berries were ready, how catch enough fish, or how to bring down an animal full of nutrient-dense meat were vital to the survival of the community—and therefor passed down with great care.
Around 12,000 years ago, hunting and gathering was replaced by agriculture and its ability to provide food more predictably.
"The development of agricultural about 12,000 years ago changed the way humans lived. They switched from nomadic hunter-gatherer lifestyles to permanent settlements and farming... Traditional hunter-gatherer lifestyles were swept aside in favor of permanent settlements and a reliable food supply." -National Geographic
Humans, especially in recent history, have an incredible ability to optimize, optimize, optimize.
So, what started 12,000 years ago as planting seeds to have a more steady and reliable food source, has ballooned into millions of acres of single-crop, subsidized, industrial farming that relies heavily on chemicals fertilizers to continue to pull the same crops off of the same landscape season after season, year after year.
The knowledge of how the landscape operates and how to work in collaboration with it has been replaced by a man-made, faux farming outdoor laboratory intent on pumping out the highest volume, regardless of the costs.
When Farmer Paul first reached out to us, a couple years ago, he was ten years deep into his journey of regenerative agriculture. Being co-founder of both Primal Pastures and PastureBird, Paul is passionate about healthier food systems that are better for people, animals, and soil.
His statement to me, at the time, was something along the lines of "in regenerative ag, we are trying to raise animals and plants in nature's image—emulating the systems of the natural world in the way we raise animals and plants."
They utilize simple but often overlooked things like rotational grazing, which can be as simple as the cows eat the grass, the chicken coop (which is on wheels) follows the cows, the chickens hunt and peck through the dung and bugs and grass, then the whole lot moves on after a day or so, allowing the grass to recover—sending its roots even deeper into the soil, so it can grow back even taller and stronger for the next time the animals graze through.
Keep in mind, this is my very amateur attempt at capturing a very nuanced cycle. But I have walked Paul's 30 acre farm and seen the before and after photos of what it looked like when they acquired it 3 years ago, and I can personally attest that where bare ground stood in 2020, grass taller than Paul or I was standing in 2023.
What does all of this have to do with a Wild Fish & Game Club, such as ours?
When Paul first reached out to me, with his statement about how everything they are attempting to recreate in Regenerative Ag was emulating the systems and rhythms of nature, his follow up was "so, almost by definition, the only food better than what we are producing is food directly from nature itself..."
Hence his idea to find the best wild-sourced foods—foods that had never seen the inside of a farm at all—and bring them together for a seasonal subscription box. The box would be equal parts discovery and nourishment.
The Wild Harvest Box is an invitation to reclaim a different way of acquiring food, and an opportunity to share in the bounty of what is growing and thriving out on the landscape, as we speak. Supporting the foragers, the fishermen, and in the case of Maui Nui—the hunters—means supporting food systems that instead of being at odds with the natural world, are in direct opposition to the industrial food complex.
A subscription box of wild foods delivered to your door is not going to singlehandedly change the face of food in America, but it is a tangible manifestation of a deep longing to see people living in the rhythm of Creation and partaking in a meal around a shared table.
Whether you love to fly fish for Trout, dive for Lobsters, bow hunt for Elk, or lay out spreads for Mallards, a flourishing natural world is central to the ongoing immersion in, and collaboration with, the landscape we find ourselves in.