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Wilderness Subsistence Project

August 16–20, 2017

For adults (ages 18 and up).

Tuition: 
$450. Financial assistance available.
Flying Deer: Wilderness Subsistence Program
Canoe Camp.

An Overnight Survival Adventure in Feeding Yourself Within Community

Rewild yourself with the gifts of the earth, supported by the power of community.

Learn how to harvest abundance from your local natural landscape. In this life-changing four-day immersion, you’ll identify common wild edible plants growing in your bioregion. We’ll harvest with respect, process with e ciency, cook with zest, and eat with pleasure! As we form a village-style community of families and individuals of diverse ages and backgrounds, we will work and play by day, and sing, dance, and laugh at night, spawning a culture of deep nature connection. This experience is about more than yielding the gifts hidden within our local natural landscape—it is about discovering the gifts of our shared humanity.

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Preparation: Learn the food systems that govern survival in nature. Gather edible plants, practice hunting and trapping, and process and store wild foods.

Survival Challenge: Subsist solely off wild foods, utilize primitive cooking techniques, and thrive in a collaborative village atmosphere within a fireside circle of laughter and community.

Celebration: We’ll return to a sumptuous feast, reflect on the lessons nature has taught us, and share our vision for living more sustainably at this pivotal time on the planet.

Your relationship with the natural world will be forever changed. Read more about the program below ...

When, if ever, have you spent the entire day eating only what you gathered from the land around you? What would it be like to do this for four days and nights, within the tight-knit basket of resilient, motivated, fun-loving community?

Wilderness Subsistence Project is a four-day wilderness survival immersion that guides adults to live with the land, not just on the land. This is not a full-survival program in which you spend four days alone in the wilderness without knife, sleeping bag or water bottle. This is a semi-survival program that focuses on two themes specifically: Food and Community.

Food

In this program, you will learn how to provide yourself, family, and community with nutritious, abundant wild plant and animal foods. You’ll have the opportunity to learn how to identify common wild edible plants that grow in your bioregion, and how to process, store and cook them. You’ll have the opportunity to practice hunting and trapping techniques that can be used to procure wild protein. As a village you will spend four days in preparation for your survival experience.

In your preparations, you will…

  • Scout the landscape to create a map of available “food larders” (dense, abundant sources of calories such as colonies of cattail, stinging nettle and blackberry)
  • Learn powerful sensory and observation skills to awaken a deep awareness of your natural surroundings
  • Assemble various survival crafts (such as digging sticks and drying racks) to help process the wild foods we will gather
  • Harvest, process, and store wild edible plant foods for later consumption (such as dried raspberries and amaranth flour)
  • Dry and store meat for later consumption.

Once your village is prepared, you will enter a survival experience. During this time, you’ll be subsisting on these pre-harvested foods, plus any extra calories you harvest during the survival experience. This will be a challenging but rewarding process! Time in nature will flow like a river as you gather ripe berries amidst birdsong at dawn, slice fresh burdock roots by the blazing fire, and nourish yourself with rich stews, contagious laughter, and stories from the day as night softly falls.

During the survival experience, you will…

  • Spend much of each day using skills of foraging, hunting or trapping (based on your interest) to procure food for the village
  • Assist the village in processing and cooking harvested foods
  • Have the opportunity to spend leisure time practicing other survival skills (such as crafting baskets, constructing a shelter or assembling a natural water filter)
  • Nourish and empower your relationship with the land through practicing sensory and observation skills.

Community

Wilderness Subsistence Project offers participants an opportunity to experience group wilderness survival. Anyone who has experienced group wilderness survival understands the value and importance of teamwork in this situation. Wilderness Subsistence Project unfolds the simple concept of “teamwork” into a dynamic, resilient model that can allow a group of strangers to organize into an effective, highly organized, yet organic and flexible team that can not only “get it done,” but also flourish as a small community. During this program, you can plan on taking a role that is unique and needed both in your survival quest and by your community. You will also deepen your awareness of nature and discover that you are an integral part of the natural community around you.

The Future

The post-petroleum future draws nearer. When it arrives, what will you eat? Where will it come from? In short, what regenerative food systems may one day replace supermarkets and Amazon deliveries? In addition to small-scale local farming, what role might the ancient subsistence methods of hunting, trapping, and foraging play in nourishing our communities? What concepts, models, and visions for resilient communities and regenerative food systems await discovery?

After your wilderness survival experience, you may feel more open, connected, and alive. These are all symptoms of nature connection. From this experience of nature connection, you will have an opportunity to reflect on your experiences and dream new dreams for our future. What bright things can you envision for the future of our children and their children?

On our final day, we will gather together for a potluck with the larger community—the family, friends, and colleagues we’ve invited—to share the stories of our adventures and the visions in our hearts. Food provided will be largely contributed by local farmers, and will include a small offering of wild foods from our program.

Responsible Challenge

This survival program does not encourage pushing physical limits to the point of collapse. While that kind of experience holds many valuable teachings, this program approaches wilderness survival as a means to deepen our connection with the earth, learn valuable (and fun!) skills in finding and obtaining food from the natural landscape, explore effective and resilient community action models, envision a hopeful future for our planet, and facilitate inspired relationships within the local community.

In a full survival situation, one’s needs for shelter, fire, water, and food each and all require attention. In this semi-survival program, our attention is on food. This means that during the survival experience we will allow most of our survival needs for shelter, water, and fire to be met with a few simple modern supplies, such as sleeping bags, water bottles, and skillets. This will allow us to push the edges of our knowledge, skill, and experience as we attempt to subsist solely on “wild” calories. During the survival experience, you will have an option to supplement meals with helpful staples such as salt and oil. Program activities do not include the hunting or trapping of protected wildlife, but meat will be included in the menu during the survival experience.