Christopher Nyerges Talks About Living on Less and Getting to Know Wild Edible Plants

What if one day we need to use primitive living skills for survival? Perhaps the power grid won’t work regularly, if at all. The infrastructure we depend on now may deteriorate badly, or have been seriously damaged.

Even if that doesn’t happen, we would do well to live simpler lives. And you don’t have to be a rural homesteader to do this. Living in the city just means following a different path to preparedness and survival.

Christopher Nyerges is a well known expert on survival in the city or in the wilderness. It was an honor and pleasure to have him as my guest on DestinySurvival Radio. This is one interview I’m sure you’ll want to hear.

A Teacher and Author

I first heard of Christopher Nyerges when I read his columns in the old “American Survival Guide” magazine in the mid to late 1990’s. When I mentioned that and told him how much I appreciated his writing, he launched into an interesting discussion of how writing and teaching are a way of life with him.

He lives in the outskirts of Los Angeles, CA, and holds weekly classes throughout the year. Folks from all ages and backgrounds have an opportunity to learn from one of the countries foremost authorities on survival and emergency preparedness. His School of Self Reliance has been going since 1974. He also offers private and group consultations.

As a prolific author, He’s written ten books and thousands of magazine and newspaper articles. He was the editor of “Wilderness Way” magazine for 7 years. Plus, for two years, he appeared on Fox TV’s “X show,” where he demonstrated survival skills on the streets of Los Angeles. At the time of this writing he did an Internet radio show called The Weekly Report with Christopher Nyerges on the Preparedness Radio Network.

His interest in wild edible plants began in his youth. He pursued those interests, and one thing led to another over time to take him to where he is today. Living as a homeless person and as a squatter at earlier times in his life taught him much and inspired at least one of his books. In a nutshell, he teaches that we can get more from less.

A Desire for a Simpler Way

Christopher believes people should see the big picture of what’s happening in the world. That includes knowing what’s going on politically. And I heartily agree with him on this.

He says politics and economics are two of our greatest problems. We’re our own worst enemy. As an example, he cited the difference between North and South Korea. They illustrate two different ways of thinking and functioning, and the contrast is stark.

Of course, Christopher wants people to focus on the littler picture, too, which involves living on less. That’s an area in life where you and I can still exercise control and become more self reliant.

Though it may sound odd at first, he says living in an urban setting provides more challenges day to day than living in the wilderness. It makes sense when you think about it–bills, job pressures, living in close quarters, etc. And when grocery stores are out of food, what do you do?

The way to develop a spirit of self reliance is to take steps to raise some of your own food. Turn your yard into a garden. That takes you down a path toward greater independence and the ability to live on less.

We could also take a cue from the Amish and build our homes to take better advantage of natural light. Christopher’s book, The Self-Sufficient Home, goes further into planning and modifications that reduce the need for the use of so much energy.

A Way to Learn and Grow

While Christopher says fear and panic shouldn’t necessarily be motivators to get us going, they played a role in his early turn toward survival preparedness. He started exploring botany and learning all he could about plants.

He learned about the traditions of Native Americans, too. They incorporated plants in many aspects of their everyday lives. He suggests we look to the past to find solutions to survive in the future.

Even though he authored a book on wild edible foods called Guide to Wild Foods and Useful Plants, he urges each of us to find a person to learn from because we learn better in person. Books and the Internet can help, but it’s vital to keep the focus on plants in your local area.

It’s not only important to have skills, but it’s necessary to work with neighbors to develop skills and strategies for survival. Christopher believes our greatest resource is other people. If there’s no local group you can connect with, start one.

A Few Wild Edible Plant Myths Busted

There’s no shortcut to learning about edible plants. If you want to go into the woods and eat stuff, you’ll need to take time. Christopher busted a few myths about how to determine if a plant is edible.

Here are some shortcuts that could get you in trouble or even kill you.

  • Watch what the animals eat
  • See if the plant is red
  • Chew a little of the plant and wait eight hours for a reaction

Learn certain plant families. For example, acorns from anywhere can be eaten when prepared properly. Plants in the mustard family are edible. For more on plant families, see the appendix of Guide to Wild Foods and Useful Plants.

Yes, you can grow edible wild plants in your garden, such as Lamb’s Quarter, burdock and dandelion. They’re sure to come back year after year. But if eating only wild plants sounds attractive as a solution in the aftermath of a collapse, think again. Grow things now in your garden you like and will eat–fresh vegetables, herbs and fruits.

This is all part of a larger point of view or mindset. Christopher suggests we not think in terms of disaster survival. Instead, he encourages you and me to focus on self reliance.

A Recommendation or Two

I strongly encourage you to hear my entire interview with Christopher Nyerges by listening to DestinySurvival Radio for January 24, 2013. I believe you’ll find it interesting and enlightening.

And check out his site at There you’ll find a store, where you can buy books, DVD’s and more. You’ll also find a number of interesting articles and a link to his blog. His writing is easy to read and full of great information that’s sure to hold your interest. While you’re at it, look at

Christopher’s books mentioned above are DestinySurvival Picks. You can click on their titles in this post to be taken to the page where each is featured. Then add the book you want to your cart to start the order process.


Author: John Wesley Smith

John Wesley Smith writes and podcasts from his home in Central Missouri. His goal is to help preppers as he continues along his own preparedness journey.

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