Weeds for a Healthier Garden and a Healthier You

by Karen Stephenson, Master Naturalist, Chartered Herbalist, and Wild Food Educator , Edible Wild Food

Many a gardener has not enjoyed the task of removing weeds from their garden; weeds are not only beneficial to the health of our soil, they have a centuries-old history in human health as food and medicine.

Looking to the existing plant growth in order to know what soil type we have is not a new trend in gardening, it is merely resurrecting what used to be. In 50 AD, the great Roman scholar, Pliny the Elder observed that land supporting wild plum, elder, oak, and thimbleberry was also favourable for wheat production. Many North American immigrants chose land for their farms according to the vegetation it supported. 

Knowing what food is truly the healthiest for us, has always been growing right under our feet. "Let thy food by thy medicine and thy medicine be thy food" were powerful words spoken by Aristotle. The vast majority of the free food that grows all around us is also what we need when we have a health ailment. 

Working with nature and not against it results in a win-win situation. Weeds are truly are your greatest ally in helping you attain and maintain a healthy garden, and when incorporated into your diet, a healthier you.


Karen Stephenson is a researcher, wild food educator, public speaker, professional writer and chartered herbalist. She has lectured for schools, a multitude of community groups, and is a sought after speaker for many notable events including the International Herbal Association. She has been interviewed on national radio, has been written about in a variety of media and has appeared on television. Her main passion is teaching people about healthy eating by integrating wild food into their daily diet year round.