Weeds are often demonised as wild awful plants but some of them are superfoods. For example, nettles. Even though it has skin-irritating properties, it is a superfood. Nettles contain high levels of minerals such as calcium, vitamin C and iron. They contain more iron than spinach and more calcium than milk.
By learning about the culinary possibilities of these ‘bad plants’, people can change their perception on weeds. This is exactly what Bénédicte Gory aims to do.
After working at LVMH for 15 years, Bénédicte felt a need to reconnect to nature. She started by exploring her own garden. She learned about benefits of the weeds growing outside her house. From there, her start-up, LE JARDIN E(S)T LA RECETTE (the name of this start-up is a word play – The garden is/and the recipe), was born with the help of her associate, Aurélie Carrillo. This start-up enhances the weeds that grow in private gardens. Fruits, vegetables, herbs, and wild plants from the garden are harvested by member gardeners. Once dried, they are assembled in reusable glass jars to form condiments with fantastic flavors.
LE JARDIN E(S)T LA RECETTE is anchored in a social, solidarity and zero waste approach. Bénédicte, the co-founder of this amazing initiative, wants to allow every owner of a garden to reconnect to the nature as well as receive an additional income by selling the plants of their garden. The goal for them is to eventually change their career path to become farmers because soon France might face a shortage of farmers. As INSEE points out in one of its studies, published in 2020, the decline in the number of farmers has been continuous since the beginning of the 1980s, going from 1.6 million workers to 400,000 today.
Our great-grandparents used weeds in their kitchen, and they used to consider them as wild and indigenous plants. With modern technology, we have everything at the tip of our fingers. However, instead of ordering online and running to the supermarkets when we need an ingredient, we should search for the ingredients in your own garden like our ancestors. If we don’t have the ingredients required, we can replace them with another ingredient that gives the same flavour as them. For instant, nettle can replace basil in your pesto. Furthermore, we should avoid importing fruits and vegetables that are not available in our country during a certain season. Instead, we should conserve those fruits and vegetables during the season in which we can find them locally. For example, we can dry them or make a jam with them.
Moral of the story: “You cannot grow a meticulous garden without pesky weeds. Let these savage superfoods grow freely.”
For those who want to get their hands on the products of LE JARDIN E(S)T LA RECETTE, they can order them online. For the residents of France, the condiments will soon be available at the Cité Maraîchère of Romainville as the start-up is relocating there.