Wild pioneering spirit
Miles Irving is an internationally renowned wild foods expert, author and public speaker. He has worked with some of the world's best chefs and has been a pioneer in Europe's Wild Food Renaissance.
Since an early age when out searching for mushrooms with his grandfather, Miles was struck with the idea that nature was giving us a gift. After receiving a wild food cookbook by his soon-to-be wife Ali he went on what he calls a 'culinary treasure hunt'. Making discovery after discovery in the natural world he began to see the potential of wild food to provide answers to deeper questions.
In 2003, he founded Forager Ltd. Based in Kent, UK, he now acts as its CEO. The widely-respected enterprise has become the country's best known wild food purveyor holding fast to its founding values of harvesting the highest quality wild produce always sustainably harvested with deep environmental consciousness.
He has since worked with many of the world's top chefs such as Rene Redzepi, Alex Atala, Heston Blumenthal and Magnus Nilsson in what the industry calls the Wild Food Renaissance. Through his long-standing relationships with some the country's top restaurants and bars he has gained insight into the UK food and drinks industry and the concerns of us all; how can we be happy, healthy and environmentally friendly all at the same time. Through reconnecting to the land by gathering, preparing and cooking with wild food we can once again feel at home in our landscapes, communities and our own bodies.
In 2009, he wrote The Forager Handbook, published by Ebury Press, hailed by many as 'the foraging bible'. The book chronicles the many wild edible plants of the UK and Miles' unique research into their historical and cultural uses.
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Miles has spoken internationally on the topic of wild food and with this as the leaping-off point weaves a story of reconnection, knowledge, cultural loss and the wildness waiting to come out in all of us. He is the host of the WorldWild Podcast, a weekly exploration into the topic of wild food in the greater context of our time which has featured as guests fellow foragers, top food minds and ecological thinkers.
He has travelled the world, including visits with Indigenous communities in Brazil and Australia, to delve deep into the environmental - and emotional - issues facing us. Along the way, his core objective is always to reconnect people with landscape and to highlight the importance of traditional knowledge in the universal quest for belonging. Miles skilfully proposes that reconnection with the life-giving wild land around us and knowledge of the complex beauty which has long sustained us is key. He offers not only a way forward but also a wildly different way of looking at the world.