1Estonian Literary Museum, Vanemuise 42, Tartu, Estonia. Electronic address: email@example.com.
studies on the use of wild food plants have identified various reasons
for their use and underlined their importance as an emergency food
supply. This work analysed the content of narratives obtained as
comments regarding the reasons for using or not using wild food plants
mentioned during 48 semi-structured recorded interviews. The results
show that past demand for the diversification of food experiences and
taste was essential for the consumption of wild plants, while the
present concern for the disappearance of wild food taxa familiar from
childhood is one of the main reasons for decrease in their consumption.
This indicates that people do not really feel that they need to use wild
food plants anymore (except for the health benefits), and that they are
concerned that their favourite plants are no longer available. The
erosion of the practical use of wild food plants is also supported by
the very small frequency in which the influence of teachings coming from
outside the community was mentioned in discussions of both the past and
present, and thus the loss of traditional uses is not really
substituted by new uses acquired from elsewhere. Further research is
needed to understand lay perceptions of the changes that have occurred
in nature, society and the economy, in the context of their influence on
the everyday use of wild food plants to appreciate the ways in which
knowledge erosion takes place and to find means of retaining this basic
knowledge within the society.