Wild foods found in and around farms, fallows and forests supplement foods and incomes of rural households and have co-evolved with other wild biodiversity. The present study was carried out using a structured questionnaire during February and March 2013 in two villages of Valappur Nadu in the Kolli Hills, Tamil Nadu, southern India, lying between 900 and 1100 m above mean sea level, covering a total sample of 40 tribal households. The diversity of wild food species across different food groups – greens, fruits, mushrooms, roots, tubers, birds, bats, rats and their seasonal availability and household consumption pattern were recorded. Greens are available predominantly during the rainy season and fruits mostly during the dry season. Women are mostly involved in foraging greens, mushrooms, vegetables, fruits, while men contribute to the food basket through trapping, fishing and hunting, and children are involved in both. Some of the surveyed households reported that they strongly believe that wild foods are nutritious and contribute to overall health and well-being apart from supplementing food security. The article concludes by viewing wild foods through the lens of food security in its four dimensions – access, availability, absorption and stability – and briefly touches upon some sociological aspects related to wild foods.
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