This summer’s series of plant walks wrapped in September with an amazingly impressive wild potluck feast. It was wonderful to see all the dishes and drinks creatively made with a variety of foraged ingredients.
With the cooler weather here and snow inevitably on its way, it’s time to move indoors. All through the fall and winter I offer workshops in my home, on a variety of subjects and themes relating to herbal medicine.
I kicked off workshop season last Saturday with Herbs for the Musculoskeletal System. We had a full house with 12 lovely participants and one adorable baby.
I love those moments after a workshop ends and I sit down feeling exhausted but also wound up and kind of high and just ever so grateful to have been given another opportunity to share simple, practical information on how people can use the healing plants that are growing around them for medicine in the home. I find myself offering up a wordless prayer of thanks to the plants and asking for the grace and wisdom to do right by them, while recommitting to the journey of learning and deepening my knowledge and understanding of the material that I share with others.
If that sounds a little flaky, so be it. I don’t think you can go too far down the herbal garden path without leaving at least a little room open for flower fairies and plant spirits. It gladdens the heart and in no way interferes with my ability to understand the immune stimulating activity of water-soluble polysaccharides in plants or the connection between the bitter taste, T2R receptors, the vagus nerve and digestive health. At a certain point everything dissolves into mystery anyway; something profound and inexplicable. In the meantime I’m happy to explore what is knowable and not-so-knowable with both my brain and my heart.
But I digress. What I wanted to tell you about is that all the dates and details for my workshops this fall and winter are up and available for you to check out here.
My workshops focus on easy to find, local, weedy plants that you can harvest yourself and make into simple remedies to support health and wellness. I always emphasize how good food, proper nutrition and healthy movement are foundational to health. I have a bias towards wild foods, nature awareness and walking and I’ll talk about all these things before I even get to the plants. I want people to use their senses to experience the herbs so I will invite you to taste, smell and feel plants in all their forms. This is whole plant medicine and it’s organoleptic learning. Sometimes it’s messy. I’ll probably tell you you’re throwing your money away on expensive tablet and capsule supplements (although I do believe there is a therapeutic time and place for these.) I’ll encourage you to grow and gather your own medicine, but I’ll also show you how to choose quality herbal products in the health food store. I’ll ask you to make ethical choices (no wildcrafted goldenseal or echinacea please) and I’ll go on about the benefits of supporting local, small-scale herb growers and wildcrafters (full disclosure: I am one!) I’ll do my best to deepen your herbal knowledge beyond a ‘this herb, for that condition’ model that simply substitutes herbs for drugs. This can work sometimes, but it’s really hit or miss and doesn’t even come close to the kind of bone deep, whole body healing that is possible when you treat the person, not the disease and you know how to match the right herb with the right person. (The last 3 workshops cover this material in particular.) In my workshops there will always be tea and snacks! There’s handouts, lots of resources, and sometimes a little something else for you to take home to add to your apothecary. The groups are small, cozy and really friendly. I love the folks who come out and I think you will too.
Here are the upcoming dates and topics. They are $30 each. If you are a CSA member you can attend for free (although there is $5 materials fee). If you would like to attend more than one, get in touch with me directly for a discount.
November 15th Herbs for the Respiratory System
December 6th Herbs for the Female Reproductive System
January 24th Herbs for the Digestive System
February 21st The Tastes of Herbs
March 21st The 6 Tissue States
April 25th Intro to Constitutional Theory
Oh and you know what my favourite thing is about hosting workshops? I can guarantee that at least once a month my place will be thoroughly cleaned! So please come out and give me a reason to dust.