A look at wild-harvesting: the new, sustainable beauty trend.
What is wild-harvesting?
Wild-harvesting, also known as wild-crafting, is a practice that involves foraging for plants in the wild. Wild-harvesting was originally used for plant medicine and food, but it has become a growing trend in the beauty space as companies look for more sustainable ways of sourcing ingredients. Wild-harvesting is a process that we use at Zen + Ether to source some of our ingredients.
Why is wild-harvesting good for your skin?
Wild-harvested plants are taken from their most natural habitat in native soils, so the plant is pure and untouched. This also means that the plant is more potent, providing you with maximum skincare benefits. Plants that are commercially farmed are sometimes genetically modified or even artificially fertilized. Commercially farmed plants often include variations of the original plant type, that have been stripped of nutrients that are beneficial for your skin. Wild-harvested plants, on the other hand, are very nutrient-rich and more resilient, since they grow without human interference and they naturally adapt to survive in the wild.
Below are some additional facts about wild-harvesting that you should know:
· Wild-harvesting puts less strain on the soil. The process of wild-harvesting involves the removal of the stems, leaves and flowers of plants and the rest of the living plant is left behind. Commercially cultivated plants are usually uprooted in their entirety once they are harvested so that the soil is prepped for the next growing season. Soil on farmed lots is usually treated to add nutrients back into the soil.
· Wild-crafting is a very ethical and mindful way of sourcing ingredients. Since wild-crafting is done by herbalists or foragers who are well versed in each type of plant, they pay special attention to plant species that may be at-risk. Wild-harvesters are careful not to forage so much, that the availability of the plant becomes depleted or natural biodiversity is impacted. They are also mindful about leaving enough plants to maintain food supply for wildlife.
· Wild-harvesting is a sustainable practice. Wild-harvested plants are sustainable because they are carefully reaped at the peak of readiness. With wild-crafting, the plants are also harvested whenever they are in season. This means that the plant itself does not need to be manipulated or modified for readiness in an allotted time. A lot of plants that are grown commercially are reaped before they are ready, especially if they have to be transported elsewhere.
Is wild-crafted the same as organic?
Wild-crafted is not the same as certified organic although wild-crafted plants can be organic by nature, due to how they are grown and where they are found. Wild-crafted plants found in natural, undisturbed habitats are similar to organically grown plants, since they are grown without any artificial fertilizers or chemical pesticides. However, wild-crafted plants cannot be certified organic because only cultivated plants are eligible for USDA certification.
The term certified organic is used to describe a set of farming standards that must be met by the USDA. However, many organic farmers do not opt for organic certification because it is a lengthy and expensive process. Farmers in foreign countries, where only certain plant species grow, may not have USDA certification, since their countries have their own set of rules that may be similar or more stringent than those of the USDA.
Just because an ingredient is not certified organic, does not mean that it is impure. While organic certification is an indicator that a product has fulfilled the USDA requirements for being organic, there are many organic plants and products that are not certified by choice of the farmer or manufacturer. Also, bear in mind that the FDA only requires 95% of a product to be pure and unadulterated to be considered organic, so the other 5% of certified organic products may still contain artificial components.
Can wild-crafted plants be non-organic?
Although many wild-crafted plants are similar to organically grown plants, there are times when wild-crafted plants may not meet that criteria. For example, if a plant growing in the wild is receiving runoff from land fertilized with chemicals then those plants are not organic. Also, if wild-crafted areas are receiving polluted runoff from roads or highly developed, urbanized areas, then they are not organic by nature. Foragers and herbalists who are knowledgeable, skilled and practice ethical wild-harvesting will never forage plants that may be compromised due to proximity to these areas.
How do we source our wild-crafted plants?
Our wild-crafted plants are ethically sourced from natural, protected areas that are not subjected to artificial fertilization or contaminated runoff. They originate from lands that are naturally preserved and uncultivated by their respective landowners. We only use wild-crafted plants from land-owners and herbalists that we know and trust. View our collection of products below that contain wild-crafted ingredients.
Written by Zen and Ether Admin for Zen + Ether.