Wildcrafting is the practice of harvesting plants from their natural, or "wild" habitat, for food or medicinal purposes. It applies to uncultivated plants wherever they may be found, and is not necessarily limited to wilderness areas. Ethical considerations are often involved, such as protecting endangered species.
When wildcrafting is done sustainably with proper respect, generally only the fruit, flowers or branches from plants are taken and the living plant is left, or if it is necessary to take the whole plant, seeds of the plant are placed in the empty hole from which the plant was taken. Care is taken to only remove a few plants, flowers, or branches, so plenty remains to continue the supply.
In the United States, wildcrafted plants are regulated by the Organic Food Production Act of 1990. Harvesters must designate the area they are harvesting and provide a three-year history of the area that shows no prohibited substances have been applied there. A plan for harvesting must show that the harvest will sustain the wild crop. No prohibited substances can be added by processors.
- Buren, Bruce. "Wildcrafting: A "simple" life fraught with a host of complex ethical and practical considerations". The Rodale Institute. Retrieved 12 October 2010.