Research Projects

Motivations and behaviors of foragers

morel mushroom

Foraging - the act of searching for and harvesting wild plants, plant products, and fungi - has been around as long as humans have inhabited the earth. As societies moved towards agriculture, foraging has largely disappeared from everyday life for most people. However, many people still enjoy foraging today, and participation in foraging has seen an increase worldwide over the past couple of decades.

Although research on outdoor recreation and consumptive activities continues to grow, there is still much that we do not know about those who participate in foraging. Why do people forage? Do all people who participate in foraging identity as “foragers”? Do foragers mostly harvest on public or private land? On what types of habitats are people foraging? Our current study addresses questions like these with two surveys: a Nebraska-wide household survey (Nebraska Annual Social Indicators Survey) which includes information about foraging and other outdoor activities, and a nationwide web survey which is exclusively about foraging. From these survey data, we intend to explore what motivates people to participate in foraging and determine typologies of foragers based on their motivations. We will also explore foraging specifically in the state of Nebraska.