Food as Medicine: Q & A with Wendy Davis

"Skills are fundamental. It is how we connect to our ancestors. It is how we connect to the seasons and the earth. It is how we actually connect to our life and not just go through the motions."

Meet instructor Wendy Davis, joining us for her 10th year at the Firefly Gathering as a former worktrader, staff member, and current instructor. With over 20 years of teaching experience, Wendy will be sharing her passion and skills for basketry, homesteading, food preservation, and more with us this year. 

In this interview, Wendy shares more about her path to teaching and how she started her deep connection to food as medicine. Read more from Wendy below, and join her for her classes this year at Firefly Gathering, June 20-25 (Passes available at the Gate as supplies last)!

What skills do you primarily teach, and how long have you been teaching them?

I teach workshops in the arts, homesteading skills, herbal medicines, food preservation, primitive skills, crafts, and more.

How did you first become interested in these skills?

I knew since I was a much much younger person that I wanted to teach. It just took a long route in life to figure out what it was I was actually needing to teach. And it turns out, there are a lot of those things. But like most of life and stories, it is not what you are presenting or saying, but that underlying lesson that weaves itself through all of it. Now, It’s all about sharing skills and enlightening the spark in others to want to learn more.

What is it about your skill/teaching that compels you? Why that skill, in particular?

Why wouldn’t you want to connect to your food? It is the thing we all have in common, the need to be nourished to survive. And the big ag farms that provide to our stores are not cutting it nutritionally for us and they are killing our Mother Earth with their practices. Where is your food from?

What is it about these skills that compels you?

Why wouldn’t you want to connect to your food? It is the thing we all have in common, the need to be nourished to survive. And the big ag farms that provide to our stores are not cutting it nutritionally for us and they are killing our Mother Earth with their practices. Where is your food from?

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How long have you been living this lifestyle? Was there an "Ah-ha" moment for you? Or was your upbringing a lot like your life now?

When I was 28 I was in a major accident. Through all of the tribulations, finally found a doctor that actually wanted me to heal instead of just popping pills. One of the things he did was put me on a “you cannot eat anything diet”. Or at least that is what I called it since I did not yet know what an elimination diet was! It was eye-opening to actually connect to what foods made my body feel different ways… and to realize a number of my reactions were from the preservatives, not the actual ingredients. Ever actually read every single ingredient of the foods you consume? Every single one? Food shopping will never be the same again.

Why is it important for people to do Earthskills?

Skills are fundamental. It is how we connect to our ancestors. It is how we connect to the seasons and the earth. It is how we actually connect to our life and not just go through the motions.

What does The Firefly Gathering in particular mean to you?

Firefly was the first primitive skills gathering I have ever attended. Thanks to Baron Brown for calling me in (met him at the organic growers’ school at his spoon carving class there. And after cutting myself we really got to talking, and he told me this is the group I should get to know. Thanks friend!) Firefly Gathering is what first connected me to this community. I am happy to keep giving back to the community that has given me so much.

What do you think the single most important thing folks can do right now to make the world a better place?

Put their personal sh** aside and really sit down and talk to someone they don’t think they agree with. Take a moment to get to know their perspective and how they got there. Engage in a learning heartfelt experience. And really connect and build community and topsoil!!

Where can folks learn more about your work, and take classes with you after Firefly? :

You can find me this year at Mid Atlantic Primitive Skills Gathering in West Virginia, Georgia Bushcraft, Falling Leaves Rendezvous, the Foxfire Museum, and The GatherThing. You can also follow me on social media on Facebook and Instagram.

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Finally, What are one of your favorite memories from an Annual Firefly Gathering?

Watching my daughter “walking” a goat as a very little girl while I was helping with setup. Makes me smile all the time. Best part is that the goat had a bell so I always know where my little one was. You know we now have our own goats that she tends to daily.

We are delighted to have Wendy back at the Gathering again this year, and for the experience and passion she brings to our community. Check out Wendy’s class offerings at Firefly Gathering on our Live Class List, including Pemmican: Ultimate Survival Food, Pervasive Freeform Basketry, Fruit Vinegar from Scratch and Fire Cider Making; and Mead Making the Wild Witchy Way with Wild Yeasts. Learn more about arriving at the Gate to purchase passes to join her at Firefly Gathering this year. Welcome back, Wendy!

WRITTEN BY

Firefly Gathering

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Kimberly Dunn

Finance Manager (she/her)

Having grown up in a multicultural family, Kimberly’s love for languages and traditional cultures is infused into everything she creates. After many years overseas, she now calls the Appalachian mountains her home and continues to keep the adventure alive by staying close to the wild. Kimberly is a singer songwriter, dancer, women’s circle facilitator, personal finance astrologer, bookkeeper, yoga teacher, and chef.