I’m extremely proud to announce that we’re running this beautiful program again this year, which we created with our dear friend, student, teacher, and inspiration, Hanna Read of Art of Health Massage. This year, we even have a few new tricks and ideas in store!
When you apply good Permaculture design to the garden, you get a garden that nurtures you back holistically, that’s easier, makes sense in your life, and also cares for the world around you.
So what we wanted to find out was: What do you get when you apply that same design process to home herbalism?
The answer: This program, a course of learning adventures to build knowledge, build your own valuable home apothecary, start a collection of medicinal plants that work for your own situation, and establish a real meaningingful practice of things you will actually USE.
Adventures? Each interactive class is organized around a series of of them. Every session, we’ll go foraging for the best locally-available herbs, do a tea tastings, learn about seasonal herb-gardening in our diverse herb garden, and create some herbal remedies, which you’ll take home.
Swag? Of course! In Permaculture terms, our goal is always to go beyond education to help you invest in “regenerative assets,” actual items of value. In this program, you’ll take home seeds from many medicinal species (when you need to plant them,) medicinal plants, and remedies including herbal teas, oils, vinegars, salves, bitters, recpies, and even our own herb-infused lotion we’re very proud of.
(Well, *cool apothecary cabinet not included)
Each class will contain a component on research-based plant knowledge, foraging, gardening, sourcing, and processing. We’ll start with strong basic foundations, break down the material into accessible chunks, and build up over time, with each class building on what we learned the previous session. For example, over the course we’ll dry herbs that will go into an oil, that we’ll use for a salve, that we’ll use to make a lotion, so you’ll practice the basic skills that build up to more advanced processing!
Here’s a basic schedule of our curriculum, including notes on he processing topics, which leads you through what we consider the most common and important uses:
May: Introduction, Foundations and Spring Cleaning (Tonics, pestos, drying, teas, infusions and decoctions.)
June: “Let food by thy medicine.” Cooking with herbs, oils, vinegars, bitters, foraged superfoods.
July: Wounds and Healing: Electuaries, salves, poultices, etc.
August: Skin, hair, beauty. Balms, butters, creams, lotions, etc.
Sept: Winter wellness. Fermenting, more tincturing.
And of course, the whole adventure takes place in our garden, with hundres of species of plants, inspired by the medieval Jardin de Cure, a traditional form of holistic herb garden or physic garden, which we think is a pretty cool place to learn about herbalism.
Michael Hoag: Manager/teacher/gardener/author/designer/consultant.
Michael Hoag has spent over 20 years as a full-time worker in the army of Permaculture change-makers. He is founder of the Transformative Adventures Cooperative, managing director of Lillie House Permaculture, and a full-time Permaculture designer and consultant who has participated in over 300 projects. He has worked on farms of all sizes, worked with food justice organizations, colleges and universities, and environmental organizations including the Sierra Club, and PIRGIM. As a teacher trainer, he has worked as a pedagog in crafting university curricula, adult education curricula, and programs for environmental and ecological awareness, and Permaculture. He has worked at a farm credit bureau, a commodities exchange, and managed farmers markets. He has created businesses including market gardens, vermicomposting operations, and helped start and lead multiple community and non-profit organizations.
Michael has over 20 years experience teaching classes and facilitating group projects, including community garden and forest garden projects. He’s an enthusiastic researcher of traditional temperate forest garden systems and productive ecologies of the Great Lakes region. The culture, history and aesthetics of gardens and garden architecture are his great passions, and he believes beautiful, healthy landscapes grow beautiful, healthy people and cultures. He has taught and lectured for McHenry County College, Arora University, the Environmental Defenders of McHenry County, the Chicago Adult Learning Resource Center, The Kalamazoo Nature Center, and gives presentations to community groups, organizations and churches. He helps organize Van-Kal Permaculture, the SoMi Permimixer, Michigan Safe Energy Future, CORE and the Kalamazoo Climate Change Coalition’s Food Group.
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