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Earth Eats: Real Food, Green Living

A New Film on Young Farmers and Kids Sample Wild Edibles

Is Spicebush Tea the best thing you've ever tasted, or does it taste like water? We'll ask fourth graders sampling wild edibles with an environmental educator.

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    Photo: Kayte Young/WFIU

    Environmental Educator, Shane Gibson gathers up the 4th graders at Unionville Elemetary to show them the wild edibles that are all around them.

  • looking at plantain

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    Photo: Kayte Young/WFIU

    One of the students examines a plantain leaf on the school grounds at Unionville.

  • pink clipboard

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    Photo: Kayte Young/WFIU

    Gibson recommends that students carry a clipboard to jot down names of plants to look into later.

  • acorn rock

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    Photo: Kayte Young/WFIU

    Gibson shows the students a stone that may have been used by Native Americans for cracking acorns.

  • touching rock

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    Photo: Kayte Young/WFIU

    Students feel the stone, looking for the indention.

  • gibson_table

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    Photo: Kayte Young/WFIU

    Gibson prepared a table with a stove and pots (for making spicebush tea) some pre-made tea, acorn pancakes and maple syrup from Gibson's own trees. The spicebush branches are also pictured, along with some of Gibson's favorite wild edible guides.

  • fisher hand up

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    Photo: Kayte Young/WFIU

    Shawn Fisher and some of the students from her fourth grade class listen to Gibson explaining how to make spicebush tea.

  • kids seated

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    Photo: Kayte Young/WFIU

    The outdoor classroom at Unionville Elementary includes benches arranged amphitheater-style near the edge of a pond.

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    Photo: Kayte Young/WFIU

    Students line up to have a turn at clipping the spicebush branches into the hot water.

  • Lindera_benzoin

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    Photo: Cody Hough, college student and photographer in the Michgian area.

    Lindera benzoin, or Common Spicebush has small red berries in the fall, but all parts of the bush can be used to make spicebush tea.

  • clipping branches

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    Photo: Kayte Young/WFIU

    Gibson lets students clip the branches into the hot water to start the tea, but he brought some tea he'd made the night before, so that everyone could taste it in the time they had available.

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    Photo: Kayte Young/WFIU

    Students diligently take notes on their clipboards.

Today’s show features wild edibles. We’ll make spicebush tea with fourth graders in Southern Indiana, and get some ideas for wild mushrooms from Chef Daniel Orr. Harvest Public media brings us a story about farmers looking to Sunflowers and I talk with a film maker looking at the future of american agriculture through the eyes of young farmers.

Shane Gibson is the Director of Environmental Education with Sycamore land Trust.
He’s been working with with Shawn Fisher’s 4th grade class at Unionville Elementary a public school just outside of Bloomington, in Southern Indiana. This school has developed a new curriculum this year called EARTH. It stands for Environment, Art, Resources Technology and Health. The new approach makes for an easy partnership with Gibson, who focusses on the environment but also on health. His visits always include extra outdoor time for the kids, and often a discussion on the nutritional aspects of edible wild plants.

Today they’ll take a walk, past the playground, down to their outdoor classroom. They’re making spicebush tea together, and sampling some pancakes made with acorn flour. See below for recipes.

Graham Meriwether’s film Farmers for America premieres in Indianapolis at the Future Farmers of America (FFA) Convention. We talk with him about the challenges facing young farmers, and what draws young people into farming.

Stories On This Episode

Genetic Advances In Sunflowers May Mean Future Profits


Self-pollination is a trait that'll be increasingly important to sunflower farmers as wild bee populations diminish.

Congress Approves More Relief For Puerto Rico

An aerial photo from Sept. 23 shows devastation in Puerto Rico from Hurricane Maria.

Congress this week passed a $36.5 billion emergency package to pay for ongoing disaster relief from Puerto Rico to California.

Chicken Of The Woods Mushrooms

Chicken Of The Woods in a pan

Who needs actual chicken when you have these meaty and flavorful mushrooms!

How To Make Spicebush Tea

Berries and leaves on a spicebush plant

During the Civil War, spicebush tea often substituted for coffee when rations ran low. Pioneers also often made a spring tonic of spicebush tea.

Acorn Pancakes


For breakfast, enjoy a taste of fall with these acorn pancakes

Kayte Young

Kayte Young discovered her passion for growing, cooking, foraging and preserving fresh food when she moved to Bloomington in 2007. With a background in construction, architecture, nutrition education and writing, she brings curiosity and a love of storytelling to a show about all things edible. Kayte raises bees, a small family and a yard full of food in Bloomington’s McDoel Gardens neighborhood.

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