Camino Verde invites us to ‘meet the plants of Ibiza’ and discover which can be eaten or used medicinally. Now is the perfect time to go foraging in Ibiza and connect with the island at a deeper level as Tim Spankie of Camino Verde explains.
Foraging with Camino Verde is all about understanding and appreciating nature. Tim explains how to use local plants to nourish, heal, and connect to traditional ways of being in nature. In Ibiza, foraging also teaches us how to take control of our own health and lives on the island.
Tim’s background is in teaching and bodywork. Around 20 years ago, he became interested in growing his own food and in permaculture – developing agricultural ecosystems so they become sustainable and self-sufficient.
Realising that plants in the wild grew better than the seedlings he was planting, Tim decided to learn about wild plants. Particularly those that were edible or medicinal.
This inspired Tim to start on the path of sharing the deep connection with the plant world that we once all carried so we can live this way now. ‘When we recover this reverence for the Earth,’ he says, ‘our culture will once more be in harmony with nature.’
Tim, his partner and their two children were living in the UK when, like so many of us, they got tired of the rain and decided they needed a break.
While they were living in a community by the beach in Bahia, Brazil, they decided to go somewhere else rather than return to the UK. Tim’s partner, a teacher, suggested Ibiza and setting up a kindergarten in nature. For a time, this is what they did.
In Ibiza, Tim lives much of his life outdoors which he finds inspiring.
The winter months are perfect for foraging in Ibiza. ‘In summer,’ Tim says, ‘everything’s quiet. It’s the opposite of northern Europe. Here, the rains come, the temperature drops and everything starts sprouting. It’s a bit like a second spring.’
When the rains come, annuals like wild chard, lavender and fennel begin to grow again and flower.
Wild chard, which is highly nutritional, is a delicious leafy green vegetable that can be eaten raw in salads or cooked like spinach. Lavender is a powerful healing plant used for relieving wounds and insect bites or to help you relax and sleep. Wild fennel is completely edible: its leaves and pollen can be used as a garnish and its flavoursome seeds are great in soups, rice, curries, cakes and bread.
At this time of year, you also find plantain, not the fruit but an herb that can be used to treat wounds, stings and coughs.
Pine needles which are, of course, abundant in Ibiza’s forests are surprisingly good for you. Pine needle tea, which tastes and smells pleasant, has roughly five times more vitamin C than lemons.
Although it’s mushroom season and everyone’s searching for seta de cardo and rovillón mushrooms, Tim steers clear of mushrooms because he’s super-cautious.
Everything Tim does is to enable us to enter into a relationship with the plants around us in Ibiza and take our ‘first steps on the green path of plants’.
As we go deeper, he says, ‘plants become our friends and teachers, and guide us on our soul’s path.’
Tim’s scheduled walks are for not more than 10 people. They’re usually in the north of Ibiza, mainly around San Miguel and occasionally San Vincente. He’s happy to do private walks. He conducts the walks in English or Spanish.
‘The people that come on my walks have often just arrived on the island and want to make that connection with nature by foraging in Ibiza. Others have been here for years but never got around to learning about the plants.’
After each walk, Tim sends a list of the plants that were found and how they’re used.
Tim also leads forest bathing sessions, ‘taking in the forest atmosphere’ to encourage a profound connection to nature and inland Ibiza energy. This involves simple exercises to open the senses and bring about a state of mindful presence. Tim then leads a gentle walk through one of Ibiza’s forests.
Tim’s workshops teach how to use local plants to make easy home remedies. These include how to make natural skin care creams and lotions, winter wellness tonics and elixirs and tinctures and teas for relaxation and sleep.
Another workshop is all about encouraging that plant spirit connection and meeting plants on a conscious, meditative, deeper level through experience.
This brings us back to why Tim does what he does. He hopes that by foraging in Ibiza ‘the more people are reconnected to nature, the more they’re likely to take care of it. I hope they become conscious that they can do less, travel less, truly connect with where they are.’
Tim offers Camino Verde walks once a month until high summer. He’s also happy to guide private walks. Contact him via the Camino Verde website.