A resident of Gabriola Island has gained over a million social media followers by “trying to do as little harm as possible and creating the smallest carbon footprint possible”.
Elizabeth Burdock has amassed 1.3 million followers on TikTok and several million views and likes on the social media platform for her diverse content.
Known as @quelbettyits slew of eclectic content ranges from do-it-yourself fixes and tips for going to music festivals, to vehicle customization projects and “crappy” cooking tips.
While Burdock enjoys sharing her expertise with festival “newbies” on what to bring and where to camp, she said her foraging content is by far the most popular.
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“The forest is just where I feel safest and most at home,” Burdock said. “We had a friend of my mother visit recently, and he was saying [to me], ‘you will always be that wild, barefoot child running through the forest.’ And my husband was like, ‘so nothing has changed.’
Now in her early 40s, Burdock said she first landed on TikTok to “spy” on her teenage daughter to make sure she wasn’t doing anything inappropriate online.
“And I was kind of hooked,” she said, adding that the platform would show her targeted content like “drinking on Moms Day” and “other hilarious Gen X stuff.”
“And before I knew it, I was making silly little videos.”
Burdock decided to create informative videos about native flora, as was his passion, and said many viewers seemed to love him immediately. One of his favorite subjects is the plantain, in particular the plantago major.
“It’s called the ‘white man’s footprint’ because it’s from Europe and really prefers rough terrain and trails. So people would eventually naturally move the seeds, and you could always see where people had gone based on where the plantain was growing. He also has the ability to suck poisons. So if you have a cut or bee sting, you can chew it up and put your “globe” on your sting or cut and wrap it up, and that will keep it from getting infected.
Before moving to TikTok, Burdock also ran a YouTube channel called “The Vagrant Vegan Show” where, while traveling the world, she showed viewers how they can eat plant-based foods from different parts of the world. Before YouTube, she wrote a blog titled “How I Freed My Family” to avoid the “constraints” of grocery stores by monoculture, foraging in the woods, “dumpster diving” and even animal husbandry. mealworms.
“With the mealworms, it was easy. Because you freeze them to kill them and then you can dehydrate them or bake them or turn them into flour and just throw them in something. It’s a really sustainable source of protein,” she said.
Since becoming an influencer, Burdock has noticed that foraging and sustainable living content has quickly gained popularity on most major social media platforms. Even in her personal life, she said friends who used to mock her for foraging are now asking for advice and sharing their own videos.
For “beginner” pickers – or those aspiring to be – Burdock recommends reading and researching first and foremost before heading out into the woods.
“I always say follow your intuition, because once you tune in, it’s like the forest is showing you what you need to see and what you need at that time,” she said. . “Try not to take more than 20% of anything…so we can stay sustainable.”
As for what to avoid when foraging: “Never eat mushrooms you don’t know. Because while you can eat any mushroom, some of them only do it once.
She also suggested seeking online community groups and advice from other more experienced people living in the area.
Personally, Burdock recommended Facebook Vancouver Island Mushroom Pickers and Vancouver Island Mushroom Identification and Information Group – although both are private groups and require approval before joining.
For the rest of the summer, Burdock plans to keep busy traveling the festival circuit, making stops and providing information sessions at Bass Coast Music and Arts Festival, Rifflandia Music Festival and wild cumberlandto name a few.
Its content will always be varied, Burdock said, because, as its TikTok handle suggests, “you never know which Betty you’re going to get.”
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