Date of Award

Spring 4-10-2024

Document Type

Research Paper

Publication Title

Foraging Culture in Iceland: Understanding the Transfer of Plant Knowledge and Personal Views on Foraging


Whittier Scholars Program

First Advisor

Dr. Cinzia Fissore


Foraging is a broad topic, practiced in different locations throughout history. This study looks into the specific practices, values, and views of foraging in Iceland. There is little previous research that has been done, working with Icelanders, and hearing their stories. Through conducting several interviews of local Icelanders with different backgrounds and a brief six-question survey via the Inaturalist application, this study looks into exactly that. By compiling stories from the interview and survey data, themes were highlighted collecting similar and contrasting statements on ways plants are foraged, opinions on Icelandic foraging culture as a whole, and ways knowledge is transferred. Foraging culture can be easily spotted in several places like businesses and restaurants using foraged materials however, what is more difficult to understand is how it is practiced individually and how the knowledge is passed between people. This study found that there is a culture of living off the land by way of foraging, through picking mushrooms and berries, especially blueberries. However, the opinions and values need to be further examined, seeing as there is significant plant knowledge that Icelanders hold, as well as differing views on what this culture looks like as a whole.