Book Club | A Forager’s Life

A Forager’s Life: Finding my Heart and Home in Nature

Helen Lehndorf

When Helen Lehndorf moved to Wellington after a childhood living off the land in rural Taranaki, she couldn’t help but feel different from her peers and professors. She found solace in long walks foraging weeds and plants in parks and wild spaces, but something inside her still longed for home.

Chasing a feeling of ancestral belonging, she travels to England with her new husband. There they encounter ideas of the commons, reciprocity, sharing, nature connection and plant wisdom.

An unexpected pregnancy in Aotearoa changes everything, and motherhood takes over Helen’s identity. When her son is diagnosed with autism, foraging becomes a space for herself in a chaotic world.

Weaving memoir with foraging recipes, principles and practices, ‘A Forager’s Life’ is an intimate story and a promise that, with the right frame of mind, much can be made of the world around us.

‘I wrote ‘A Forager’s Life’ because I’m passionate about the healing powers of nature, and I wanted to share this,’ said Helen. ‘Connecting to local foods and wild medicines can be very empowering and heartening.

I also wanted to write a bit about my experience of feeling like I slipped between worlds when my child was diagnosed with autism. I wanted to convey something of what it’s like to feel like the world is rejecting your child. People can be tricky, but nature never rejects us.’

‘A Forager’s Life’ is a book for foragers, gardeners, mothers, parents of special needs kids, folks from small towns, folks who live in cities but long for more connection with nature, and anyone, really, who enjoys nature writing.



Helen Lehndorf is a Taranaki writer who lives in the Manawatū. She teaches creative writing and works in community development around food resilience and localisation. She is the author of ‘The Comforter’ (poetry) and ‘Write to the Centre’ (creative non-fiction). She is passionate about connecting people to both the healing potential of nature and of their own innate creativity. Her writing has been described by reviewers as ‘vivid…bitingly funny and warmly sympathetic’ and ‘heartfelt, relatable and authentic’.