‘Wild food’ includes hedgerow fruit, fungi, nuts, roots and leaves, but also meat from game birds, deer, fish and other animals.
Interest in such food has increased recently in response to evolving interests in ‘healthy’, ‘natural’ and ‘local’ sources of food, although the value of game birds or venison at the supply end of the food chain is often low and handling costs can be high.
Does the market for venison influence the motivation of stalkers in controlling deer species such as muntjac that have a negative impact on rare plant species? Do consumers differentiate between deer species when choosing venison? What is the extent and nature of the rural networks associated with the trade in game? What are the attributes that consumers seek when buying game and to what extent do these consumers also harvest other ‘wild foods’?
These are the sorts of questions that Graham Riminton will be exploring in a new PhD study. The project will be centred on the Eye Brook catchment, with an additional study area in upland Derbyshire.