The Programme

There will be workshops from 10am until 6pm on Saturday and 10am until 3.30pm Sunday. Most of the workshops are spaces for people to share their ideas and experiences, everyone is welcome to contribute so that we can learn from each other. We have tried to balance discussions with opportunities to learn and skill share about herbal medicine.

There will be a medicine making workshop space with lots of medicine making materials so it can be place for continuous skill-sharing as well as some specific workshops. There is also going to be a well-being space with a herbal first aid kit as well as a place to skill-share and swap ideas.

A kids space will be at the gathering with herbal workshops for kids running throughout. We are looking for people to volunteer an hour or so over the gathering to help in the kids space so parents have an opportunity to go to workshops. If you have specific questions about kids and the kids space please contact: scaz@myway.com

This is not the final definitive list and we will have everything confirmed by mid-May and a timetable up.

Saturday

  • Opening Plenary

Welcome space and setting the frame for this weekend of information and exchange. Will will talk about what is radical herbalism? We will look at the connections between herbal medicine, social change and ecological justice.

  • Community Herbalism facilitated by Lisa Fannen and Becs Griffiths

A discussion about what community herbal medicine is, what different types of community herbal projects are present in the UK. How do we increase the visibility and accessibility of herbal medicine? We would love people who are involved in community projects to come and represent them.

  • Herbal Growing – Herbal CSAs (Community Supported Agriculture) and building a growers network with Nicole Vosper

This workshop looks at how and where we are sourcing our medicinal herbs from. We will discuss what we can do together to challenge models of industrial agriculture, access land, and earn livelihoods as growers in ways that are libertarian. There will be some inspiring case studies and lots of group discussions.

  • The ancient connection between herbs and midwifery, and the use of herbs in pregnancy and childbirth

Amanda Rayment from the Holistic Birth Trust will talk about her work as a birth educator and herbalist.

  • Plant communications

Charlotte Du Cann, author of 52 Flowers That Shook My World – A Radical Return to Earth, will lead a discussion and workshop, based on her practice and investigation into medicine plants, rewilding the self and community resilience in times of cultural shift. One hour and 30 minutes.

  • The privatisation of the NHS, what does this mean for our healthcare? Is their a future in the NHS for herbal medicine?  with Caroline Molloy
  • The Future of Herbal Medicine (a discussion)

Karen Lawton and Fiona Heckels, who are two traditional herbalists who have formed Sensory Solutions. “Our ethos has always been to help people connect in deeper ways to their medicine and food, we come from protesting back-grounds and this is part of our non-violent direct action, through education people become more self sufficient. We’ll introduce ourselves and our working techniques and open a discussion on the future of our medicines…”

During this 1 and half hour walk, Robin Harford will teach you an approach to identifying plants through sensory engagement. No dry botanical studies, no plant ID books needed. Just bring your body. He’ll also discuss the various historical and modern food uses of the plants we find along the way. As well as the importance of sustainable foraging (is there such a thing?), reasons against commercial foraging and other hot topics that need to be addressed if foraging isn’t going to become simply a consumer past-time of the monied classes. The course is led by professional forager Robin Harford. Robin harvests wild edible plants on a daily basis.
  • Practical medicine making – Herbal Salves/tincture making
  • Advanced tincture making by Chris Roe.

Chris will show how to make the most potent tinctures using simple techniques.

Sunday

  • Herbal First Aid for Everyone by Dedj Liebbrandt, a herbalist with over 20 years experience of using herbs in acute situations.
  • Indigenous medicine, indigenous land

Suzanne from the no-tar-sands campaign (no-tar-sands.org) will talk about her experiences with First Nations people in Canada who have been fighting for their land and medicine. There will be space for questions and conversation and to share information about other struggles around the world, as well as to discuss how to be  allies to/ support indigenous resistance to colonial and corporate violence.

  • The Language of Plant Magic by Nathan Hughes.

Within language are embedded constructs that define our reality. Medical language is often disassociated from our experience of our body. Language drawn from another culture is born of a different land and often a different time. Nathaniel Hughes, founder of the School of Intuitive Herbalism, puts the case that the strongest conceptual foundations in herbalism are fluid and are born directly of our experience of our own locality, our bodies, the herbs around us and the needs of our community. Such foundations can evolve organically as our culture and landscape change, and are intrinsically powerful since they are the expression of our individual truth.

  • Herb Walk – ‘Identify and discover the qualities and properties of the plants which are growing around us’.
  • Plant identification walk – Chris from Ipsophyto
  • Advanced tincture making by Chris Roe.

Chris will show how to make the most potent tinctures using simple techniques.

Rory will describe the wonderful world of marine macro-algae who have so enthusiastically absorbed nutrients from our seas for 500 million years. By eating three grams of dried algae per day you will…well, what exactly? It’s intriguing, it’s life changing…Neptune’s Garden awaits…

  • Challenges and solutions for working herbalists in a capitalist culture with Heather Ware and Becs Griffiths.

We want to open a discussion on how to earn a living whilst making herbal medicine accessible/ how we look after ourselves and feel supported and combat isolation, as well as making sense of being herbalists in this culture.

  • Closing Plenary

A chance to reflect on the weekend, discuss ideas raised in the gathering and think about how to stay connected and strengthen this new network.