The hunter-gatherer lifestyle was the standard way of living for humans until around 11,000 to 10,000 years ago according to National Geographic. The hunter-gatherer lifestyle focuses on hunting wild animals or game and collecting or harvesting vegetation for food, medicine, clothing, or tools. Additionally, early humans collected honey as well as other nutrients made by animals, insects, and plants. For generations, plant knowledge such as life cycle, growth stages, and taxonomy were passed down to ensure the survival of the next generation. Anthropologists have found evidence of the hunter-gatherer lifestyle dating all the way back two million years ago! 

Early humans had to travel by foot hundreds of miles in order to gather enough food for their group, however early humans were also nomadic, meaning they did not have one home and therefore traveled from one place to another depending on the season, storm potential, and abundance of vegetation. Mobility was a survival strategy because they followed herds of animals, such as caribou and bison, as well as types of vegetation and their growth stages.

About 10,000 years ago humans started practicing agriculture, which allowed us to stay in one place longer. Until agricultural practices became more sustainable (using the same ground over and over again without depleting the soil nutrients), humans still had to rely heavily on hunting and gathering. Eventually, many people abandoned the hunter-gatherer lifestyle, choosing to live in permanent settlements and relying on agriculture for subsistence. However, many humans still take part in this style of living today, gathering mushrooms, leaves, bark, and many other items. People often use these items for food or decorations throughout the year, but very few rely on this lifestyle to survive. According to the History Channel, there are still a few sparse populations that depend solely on hunting and gathering as a means to survival. These are the San (Bushmen) of southern Africa and the Sentinelese of the Andaman Islands in the Bay of Bengal. 

If you are a hunter-gatherer or if you are interested in learning more about it and how to do it, the University of Minnesota Extension is offering a workshop on May 23, 2023 in two locations. 

The first workshop is being held at Irving & John Anderson County Park in North Branch from 8:30-10:30 a.m. (Register online @

The second will be at Saint Croix State Park in Hinckley from 1-3 p.m. (Register online @ 

Attendees can look forward to an informational session with Gary Wyatt - Extension Educator and then practice using what they learned to gather in the parks. The workshop includes a Minnesota Harvester Handbook for purchase of $20. If you have any questions, please contact Gary at

Sources: National Geographic - Hunter-Gatherer Culture; History - Hunter-Gatherers

(0) comments

Welcome to the discussion.

Keep it Clean. Please avoid obscene, vulgar, lewd, racist or sexually-oriented language.
Don't Threaten. Threats of harming another person will not be tolerated.
Be Truthful. Don't knowingly lie about anyone or anything.
Be Nice. No racism, sexism or any sort of -ism that is degrading to another person.
Be Proactive. Use the 'Report' link on each comment to let us know of abusive posts.
Share with Us. We'd love to hear eyewitness accounts, the history behind an article.