‘Wild Edibles’ workshop teaches students uses of backyard plants

We pass them as we walk from the front door to the driver’s seat of the car each morning. They line the sidewalks we stroll and the highways we drive. Some are planted, others potted and some simply seem pesky when they persist in growing in inconvenient places.

Plants are everywhere, though they demand little attention from human passersby.

Local Holli Richey, a registered herbalist with the American Herbalist Guild, plans to educate Chattanoogans about backyard plants at Outdoor Chattanooga’s “Wild Edibles” workshop Thursday, Jan. 30 from 6-8 p.m.

“We’re going to talk about basic plants that grow around this area,” Richey said. “A lot of people think they are a nuisance. People need to attend so that they learn they can be useful. It’s a new way of looking at the plants around us.”

Though it’s currently the coldest season of the year, Richey said many plants are alive and waiting to be explored and utilized.

“A lot of people, in the winter, think that things are dead,” she said, “but there are actually a lot of plants that are growing and can be harvested.”

Richey will talk about violets, dandelions, chickweed and more. She’ll also talk about different herbs, such as one that can be substituted for basil.

“They are full of nutrients that detoxify the body,” she said of the basil-like herb. “That’s just one herb that grows in abundance in people’s yards.”

The workshop will also include safety tips about toxic plants and their look-alikes. It’s information any outdoor enthusiast can benefit from learning, said Richey.

One of the purposes of the workshop is to raise awareness of the benefits of getting outside.

“Nature is right outside your back door; you don’t need to go to a national park,” Richey said. “[Learning more about the plants that surround you] can give you pause in your day to notice something else that’s living.”

The workshop is free to attend and will take place at Outdoor Chattanooga, 200 River St. For more information, visit outdoorchattanooga.com or call 643-6888. Learn more about Richey’s work at hollirichey.com.