If You Can’t Beat ‘em Eat ‘em

If You Can’t Beat ‘em Eat ‘em

Imagine a world where people aren’t fighting invasive plants with herbicides, but rather eating those plants to improve their health and the health of Mother Earth. Peter Becker of Wiesbaden, Germany is passionate about bringing that vision to reality. He is the founder of NewTritionInk and Knotty Foods. After disgust that Japanese Knotweed (Polygonum cuspidatum) was being so heavily doused with herbicides, he created a beautiful business plan to market food products made with this delicious wild food plant (his relish is pictured above). Although he doesn’t want to see the plant eradicated, he does plan to use profits from his Knotty Foods products to fund the removal of this invasive in Nature Reserves and Parks, where it crowds out native species.

Peter’s Bionic Knotweed Control Project has been declared a 3-year pilot project by the city authorities in Wiesbaden, as well as the Hessian State Department. He works to educate his community about controlling the plant through eating it, working with local school systems, health food stores, restaurants and recently set up a footpath where 100 wild food plants are identified. Peter hopes to take this model to the over 20 countries that aggressively spray herbicides on the plant. Hundreds of thousands of tons of Japanese Knotweed could be harvested in those countries and Peter says, “We are weakening our economies by wasting these local resources.”

The photo above shows Peter at last years Japanese Knotweed harvest. When I asked Peter why he has chosen this path he said, “In part to furnish my chemical evolution. If we are what we eat, why not become what we could be.” He shares this evolution into the future of food with his wife and two children, and feels good to set an example for his children by doing what he loves. “Your work is not just making rent, but your lever to change the world.”

Japanese Knotweed (Polygonum cuspidatum) was introduced in the US in the late 1800’s as an ornamental. It is now found in almost every state, but is mainly concentrated on the east coast. It has the highest natural concentration of the antioxidant resveratrol. Peter semi-cultivates his plants by removing its young leaves and thereby causing the plant to produce more resveratrol. It has been touted as an anti-cancer, anti-cholesterol, weight-controlling, blood pressure and blood sugar-normalizing agent that extends life. Consider marketing wild food products made from invasive plants in your area. Click here to visit the US Small Business Administration, which offers programs, services and advice for starting your own small business.

Photos courtesty Peter Becker.

3 Comments

  1. Hello

    I am thrilled to come across this website…especially concerning the knotweed aspect. I am a Lyme Disease activist/writer and am interested in nutrition. Stephen Buhner wrote a book called “Healing Lyme”. It’s all about herbs that will help remedy lyme, which is FAST becoming a world epidemic. He says in his book that knotweed is antispirochetal and has alot of other benefits for lyme patients. I attended an herb fair and had a lyme disease table. We were next to a government group which was featuring invasive plants and their dangers. I brought their attention to the knotweed, which people say grow in our area in CT. I explained to them how Buhner feels that invasive plants are often growing in areas where their invasive disease counterparts are flourishing. In other words…his thought was that if we are listening and aware, we have help already available to deal with these plagues. I had wanted to somehow do just what Peter is doing. Instead of dousing plants with herbicides…use them for food, flutes, medicine, etc. I JUST met a man on my street who owns a tea company and I found out he has Knotweed growing in his yard. It was there when he moved there. I gave him Buhner’s book to read. He seems very interested to perhaps use the knotweed along with other recommended herbs good for lyme….to make a medicinal tea specifically for those in our area or anywhere where lyme is prevalent. I’m wondering how I can find out more about the cultivating, planting and preparing the different parts of the knotweed plant for various uses? Hope to hear from you. Thanks so much
    Marjorie Tietjen

    Reply
  2. Hi, I am a fellow forager and I have had Lymes for about 13 years I have treated it successfully with an herb called cats claw bark and I now maintain relatively excellent health. This is very interesting about knotweed and it’s use in treating Lymes. Please e-mail me and share your knowledge with me on this subject. Your help would be greatly appreciated. I have an eBay business selling herbs called “The Herbal Experience” I provide people with herbs at a very low and affordable price so that they can experience the miracle of natural healing like I have. Thanks, ejhunts

    Reply
  3. *yey
    hope you ladies connected.
    thanks for sharing your experiences and knowledge in this area. my grandfather got lyme’s disease back in the late 80’s. he suffered from carpal tunnel (spelling?) for many years…associated with the disease. He was not open to natural health remedies, so it’s cool to hear more about this.

    take care, ~sunny

    Reply

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