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Master forager makes mushroom paper, fish leather & superfoods

Fergus Drennan is a professional forager who often sleeps in a solo tent in the woods to learn from the wild materials he collects for eating, tanning, and druid-like experimenting. Foraging for food is just one aspect of his bushcraft (which includes making clothing, fire, and shelter).

For decades he’s been collecting mushrooms and plants for food. He’s spent 11 months of the year living on wild food alone (only February remains elusive), but when funding allows, he hopes to dedicate more time to completing his Year-Long 100% Wild Food Experiment.

He’s a vegetarian except for what he calls “accidental meat” (he was The Roadkill Chef for a BBC show produced by Jamie Oliver’s company). He also uses “found” animal skins to create leather drumheads.

More recently, he has been preparing and tanning fish skins donated from sushi restaurants so his archeologist partner Charissa van Eijk can turn them into handbags, wallets, and jewelry. Together they teach courses in fish skin tanning that “goes far beyond (although not excluding) the traditional and well-known tanning methods using bark, eggs, brains, and urine.”

Not believing in the separation between life, play, and work, Fergus recognizes that all roads lead to a life embedded in nature which provides not only physical sustenance but psychological nourishment as well.