Abe Lloyd’s ’02 interest in wild foods dates back to childhood campouts in a vacant lot next to his house in Washington state and his childhood fantasy of never needing to go inside.
“When I was at Northland, I began to think much more deeply about the environmental and social impacts of industrial food production, and came to see wild foods as a sustainable alternative to big agriculture,” he said.
Lloyd names people who influenced his wild food passion. The first: Jim Meeker, a professor of natural resources, now deceased. “I took every class Jim had to offer and admired his simple cabin life out of town, his deep knowledge of plants, and his sugar maple sap production,” Lloyd said.
The second: Sam Thayer, an expert on wild edibles and author of multiple books on the subject. “I met Sam while playing ultimate frisbee on the mall,” Lloyd said. “Sam also lived in a cabin and was (and still is) the most knowledgeable forager I had ever met.”
Lloyd went on to study Native American food systems in graduate school. When he finished his master’s degree in 2011, he moved back to his hometown of Bellingham, Washington, and started Salal, the Cascadian Food Institute, where he promotes Indigenous foods through talks and workshops, as well as a variety of research and writing services for Native American tribes and affiliated organizations.
He also teaches Wild Foods and classes related to natural history, botany, and biodiversity at Western Washington University, and ethnobotany at a local community college.