Workshop Programme 2016

Radical Approaches to Health

Dignity in Death and Assisted Suicide –  Autonomy and Choice at the End of Life
This workshop approaches the right to die and autonomy at the end of life. We will hear from individuals sharing stories about loved ones’ end of life choices. Dr Graham Winyard will discuss the legal implications of assisted suicide in the UK and how our medical system is ‘Pro-Life’. Soul midwife Delphine Macmillan will discuss what it means to die with dignity and how we can consider death as a part of life we can honour.

Graham retired in 2007 from a career spent in senior posts in the NHS and Department of Health, including 6 years as Medical Director of the NHS in England. His commitment to changing the law on assisted dying stems from his experience caring for his first wife, Sandy, for the 2 years between diagnosis and her death from cancer in 2002. This confirmed in a very personal way how, even with the best palliative care, there can come a time when a dying person has simply had enough, and should legally be able to seek an end to life.  A member of the Steering Group of Healthcare Professionals for Assisted Dying since its establishment, he is the joint lay treasurer of Chithurst Buddhist Monastery in West Sussex and recently obtained an MA in religions from SOAS. On becoming a Dignity in Dying Board Member Graham said:  “I believe passionately that we need to challenge the current received wisdom that good palliative care has all the answers and that changes in the law should be judged in terms of the ‘risks to the vulnerable’ that they create. The reality is that every day hundreds of people are dying in a way that they find intolerable. This actual suffering, not hypothetical risk, is what has to be addressed by our lawmakers.”

Women’s Health (Women only, trans inclusive)
“Our bodies, ourselves”
This workshop with Lisa Fannen will include info exchange & conversation about female anatomy and sexuality, the various experiences & the politics of the menstrual cycle and what gets called ‘PMS’. It will dissect how language is used, critique biomedical narratives we are given about the mind & body, and honour the diversity & commonalities of our lived experiences.

Trans Health with Otter Lieffe
There will be two distinct Trans health spaces running consecutively.
The first hour – open to all genders – will be a basic trans-competency training for anyone – including holistic health practitioners – allying with trans folk around health. We will focus on respectful use of language and sensitivity around discussing the health of trans people. This workshop will be led by a trans woman holistic therapist who will speak from her own experiences. As trans-competency is a wide and complex subject, this workshop will be just the beginning of a conversation and there will be limited time for questions and answers at the end. For safety we wish to state that, in keeping with the rest of the gathering, this space will not tolerate transmisogyny, transphobia, disrespectful behaviour or derailing.
The second hour will be a facilitated space for trans folks only (based on self-identity, there won’t be any gender policing) for a shared conversation around holistic spaces, trans exclusion/inclusion and health.

Also see –

Men’s Health (Men only, trans inclusive)
This space is an opportunity to discuss what it means to be male and the experience of being men in our society. It will be grounded in a feminist discussion of male power and privilege (patriarchy). It will be a non-judgmental space to explore how patriarchy affects our health in its widest sense: our relationships with women and other men in our lives, our sense of our self and how we might move towards a more healthy society for everyone. This space will be facilitated by Drew Rose and Dave Shand.

Somatics – Listening to our Bodily Sensations
Allowing body symptoms to speak. Through a combination of discussion and interactive experience this session will provide a space to explore how to unlock our physical symptoms and reveal the thoughts and feelings beneath. Using a variety of tools and process methods it becomes possible to decode trapped emotion and better understand both physical and behavioural patterns. This space will be led by Bendle and Cristina Cromer.

Bendle has been working as a medical herbalist for over 25 years.He sees the study of herbal medicine as a life-long task and continues to complement his experience with study across a number of relevant disciplines. For most of his professional life he has worked part time in an NHS setting as a herbalist, and this has given him familiarity with orthodox medical protocols, and good relationships with a number of Sheffield doctors. He is a clinic supervisor and lecturer on the Herbal Medicine BSc course in Lincoln.

Cristina Cromer has been practicing herbal medicine in London since she graduated from Westminster University in 2003. She is well known for her amazing deep herbal decoctions.

The Spiritual, the Political?
An exciting gathering of folks (Mama D, Nathan Hughes, Muzammal Hussain, Penny Rimbaud & Shumaisa Khan) will be in conversation speaking to the questions – What is it that gets called spiritual? What is it that gets called political? What is it we mean by sacred? And will also speak to/assess some of the central ideologies of the New Age movement.

Mama D – community researcher, learning facilitator & activist around (amongst other things) food sovereignty and decolonial, emancipatory and restorative life narratives; Nathan Hughes – School of Intuitive Herbalism; Muzammal Hussain – Journey therapist and activist integrating Islamic theology with permaculture principles; Penny Rimbaud – former member of the band Crass, poet and philosopher; Shumaisa Khan – Herbalist in training, permaculture and food sovereignty activist, co-worker with Muzammal Hussain in the Islamic ecology project Wisdom in Nature

Basic Astrology with Elisabeth Brooke
A run through of the planets, signs and houses in a horoscope and, if there is time, looking at a decumbiture chart. Within the Western Herbal Tradition (European) there was an integrated system of diagnosis and treatment using a form of Astrology called Decumbiture. Each herb was allotted a ruling planet, as were the systems of the body and illnesses, working within the framework of the humoral system. Using astrology for diagnosis and treatment opens out our herbal tool-kit and gives our diagnoses and treatment clarity and finesse, while using the phases of the moon connects us to larger cycles and our environment. This talk explains basic concepts of astrology to help initiate a deeper understanding of this subject.

Ecological Justice & Sustainability

Land and Housing
This workshop will look at the history of land enclosure and resistance to it in the UK with a discussion about the planned Housing bill, current housing struggles like the community resistance to redevelopment in housing estates like Aylesbury & how we can mobilise resistance to housing injustices. There will be info exchange and a conversation about creating self-organised alternative Land & Housing infrastructures. With Ziggy (wrote pamphlet ‘Burning Women: the European witch hunts, enclosure, and the rise of capitalism’), Aysen Dennis (from the Aylesbury campaign) and Clare Joy (from OrganicLea food-growing workers’ cooperative).

Herb Growers Forum
This is an informal chance to meet up with all different types of herb growers around the UK, exchange ideas, information and keep building an active support network.

The Food Journey – Mama D
The Food Journey is an animated, immersive, multi-sensory experience of a part of the human journey associated with the movement of food around the planet. It is part live theatre and participatory experiencing; it is part history, science and the socio-economy of food and people.

It might even make a claim to be a little anthropological, it is certainly intersectional and a little bit biased…towards justice. Justice mainly for the planet and then for everyone that experiences food as that which we take in from the Earth, through our bodies; who has an interface with the Earth’s natural bounty in any other way, but always…necessarily… with a conscience.

Why? Because we have just the one planet and we are all connected to it and each other…and when it comes down to it, in the end, we have to realise that we just can’t EAT money. Let’s remember the journey that food has taken to our plates, bowls, leaves or hands; and as we remember, let’s be grateful.

Social & Health Justice

“Cracks in the pavement: we are the weeds pushing through”

A facilitated discussion about the impacts of capitalism and social inequality on health, and the challenges we face in tackling these as community organisers and practitioners. How can our work not only respond to social inequality, but act as a direct challenge to the systems that reinforce it?

Yaz Brien has been involved in social movements for many years, and currently works with individuals recovering from drug and alcohol problems.

Community Health & Herbal Projects

We hold this workshop every year to showcase herbal or health projects that have either evolved from the grassroots or are challenging the health inequalities that exist in our society. We hope it will  inspire and galvanise other grassroots projects to develop. Within the workshop we will hear more about the projects with an opportunity for questions after. This year we have four projects to highlight: 7Song will talk about the Ithaca Free Clinic in upstate New York where he is the Clinical Director and works as a herbalist, Lorna Mauney-Brodek talking about the Herbalista network in the US, Fred Gillam & Natascha Kenyon will talk about the Village Apothecary they have set up in Wiltshire with their medicinal mushroom knowledge and Lisa Fannen & Rasheeqa Ahmad talking about the Women’s Health Project in London.

Ithaca Free Clinic with 7 Song
The Ithaca Free Clinic is an integrated clinic offering conventional and holistic health care modalities. Our goal is to provide patients their choice of health care. All goods and services are free, including the herbal remedies. We have been open for over 9 years and the herbalists see approximately 250 patient visits per year.  The staff consists of volunteer practitioners including Acupuncturists, MDs, Nurses, Herbalists, Massage therapists and others. We also have 4 paid administrative staff positions. We provide educational outreach to our local community and hope that this free integrative model is an inspiration for other clinics.

“Our Village Apothecary” with Fred Gillam and Natascha Kenyon
Fred and Natascha have set up their own grassroots village apothecary in a small village in Wiltshire, making tinctures and helping people choose their own medicines.

The Women’s Health Project is collective of practitioners, teachers & activists who run women’s (trans inclusive) health programmes (workshops, classes, free clinics) integrating info exchange and sharing of different self-help approaches to health within the context of social justice. Based in London, they recently ran a programme for women ex-prisoners and ex-detainees.

Lorna Mauney-Brodeck is involved in free clinics in Atlanta, USA and part of the Herbalista Health Network. The Herbalista Health Network offers free clinical services (the Herb Bus and Herb Cart) and educational opportunities to underserved populations in Atlanta, Georgia. We utilize mobile medicine and hybrid models of service/educational programming that invites direct community participation to create a sustainable model of health care. Lorna also leads the Harriet Tubman Free Foot Clinic, an integrative clinic at the Open Door Community providing foot care and comfort for the homeless of Atlanta for over a decade.

Lorna is also involved in The Grow a Row Project which is an important part of the Herbalista Health Network’s mission to build community health and wellness. Now in their second year, they promote bioregional herb production and the development of a local medicinal herb market while simultaneously increasing herbal donations to the free clinics.


Herbalists without Borders
Migration to Europe has been steadily increasing over the years, with more than a million migrants and refugees crossing into Europe in 2015, sparking a crisis as countries responded in different ways. The conflict in Syria is one of the main reasons for this increase alongside the ongoing violence in Afghanistan and Iraq. Herbalists have a lot to contribute towards this global humanitarian crisis, and we want to discuss the best ways to use our skills. We have started to respond in a variety of ways including setting up free migrant support clinics in the UK, volunteering in Calais and strategising on how best to give herbal support in France and other countries with laws around herbal medicine that are more complicated than in the UK. A UK chapter of Herbalists without Borders was set up this year and hopes to encompass all these responses and more.

Melissa Ronaldson will talk about her experiences in Calais and ideas on continuing herbal support, Catherine Johnson will talk about her experience providing first aid in the clinics in the ‘jungle’ in Calais and Becs Griffiths and Annwen Jones will talk about their migrant support clinic and how to set others up countrywide. This is an opportunity for people to hear learn more, get more involved, share info about their similar projects and to create a mutual aid network.

Herbal Medicine in Practice

Acute Care Herbal Medicine with 7Song
In this class we will cover some common herbal medicines for use in specific first aid situations including pain, trauma, infections (internal and external), and respiratory disorders. The goal of this class is to offer practical treatment suggestions for commonly seen maladies.

7Song is a herbalist who works and teaches in Ithaca, New York. He has been studying plants, people, and herbal medicine for over 20 years now, and has run  The Northeast School of Botanical Medicine for over 13 years. He sees being an herbalist as a political path, meaning a way to encourage community, and change some of the status quo, especially the ways medicine is currently practiced. “I feel that being herbalists we can be a great boon to our communities, whether just among our friends, the towns we live in, or wherever we are and whomever we are talking to.”

Using Native Medicinal Mushrooms with Fred Gillam and Natascha Kenyon
A practical demo of full-spectrum extract making, including some notes to be given out covering the theory and some of the commoner native mushrooms and their uses.

Fred Gillam is an experienced forager who teaches courses and walks all year round. He has had a particular interest in mushrooms since he was a teenager. Fred and Natascha organised the first Medicinal Mushroom conference in the UK last year.

Making Hydrosols: A Practical Workshop with Chris Gambatese
A practical demonstration and talk on producing your own vibrant and vital hydrosols. The workshop aims to familiarize the participants with the tools and techniques required for manufacturing hydrosols for home use or for stocking your own herbal dispensary. While being a practical workshop, other topics to be discussed (time permitting): the science behind the process, sourcing the equipment, packaging, storage and preservation, practical applications. For the workshop we will be using a beautiful copper Alquitar still from Portugal.

Chris Gambatese is a community herbalist based in Cork City. He is passionate about making all his own medicines from seed to bottle and incorporates some innovative processes using some principles of Alchemy.  In the past few years, he has also become certified as a brewer and distiller and regularly teaches classes in both fields. His latest project is organising guided tours specialising in the native plants and fungi (especially medicinal), archaeological and sacred sites, and places of cultural significance in Ireland, lead by local herbalists and naturalists. The first 2 tours are in conjunction with Rosemary Gladstar’s Plant Lover’s Journeys.

Medicinal Cannabis In the UK with Sarah Dougan.
This workshop will be looking at medical cannabis in the UK, with particular focus on cancer. There is a growing number of people with cancer turning to cannabis oil as a treatment in the UK, this workshop will be looking at ways of going about this, how to make Cannabis oil and also how to use it, what support networks there are out there for people and where the best places are to get advice, covering the pitfalls of cannabis oil industry in the UK. Sarah will also be talking about the bringing together of medical cannabis patients through different organisations in the UK.

Sarah Dougan is an Adviser for Dark City Compassion Club, and Regional Chair of Yorkshire United Patients Alliance.

Magical Herbalism with Elisabeth Brooke
Learn to work energetically with herbs. Using guided meditation and intuitive skills focus in on individual herbs to discover their physical, emotional and psychic/spiritual uses. Within a safe, supportive environment we will work in a group and in pairs to get a deeper understanding of common herbs. No prior knowledge needed/assumed – just an open mind. Workshops space limited to 20 participants.

Beauty in Diversity: Further developing alternative pathways to practicing and training in herbal medicine.
This is a continuation of a discussion started at last year’s gathering, about developing new ways of practicing herbal medicine and training for herbalists that are responding to the changing nature of education in the UK or are outside of the current university system. We want to broaden our ideas of what it means to be a herbalist, and to think collectively about creative ways of encouraging the development of herbal medicine in the UK.

7Song will begin with talking about how he has apprenticed folk over the last 15 years, the philosophy and the practicalities. We will then hear from a panel of people who have are actively involved in developing herbal trainings in the UK, from apprenticeships to online training courses, establishing new herbal schools, and developing university courses to be more holistic and community orientated. The panel will answer questions on the content of training, accountability of trainings, creative learning methods and building support networks. It will include Nathan Hughes from the School of Intuitive Herbalism, Nathalie Chidley from The Herbarium and Karen Lawton & Fiona Heckels from Sensory Solutions, Maggie Pope (who can’t be here but has sent her thoughts) from The School of Herbal Medicine, Melissa Ronaldson from the Herbal Barge, and Robyn James, Senior Lecturer on the Lincoln University Herbal Medicine degree course.

Herb Walks
There will be a herb walk with 7Song on Friday at 6.30pm

Book Launch:

Nathaniel will be launching his new book ‘Weeds in the Heart. A Five Valleys Herbal‘ at the Radical Herb gathering – this is a beautifully illustrated herbal that approaches our healing weeds through direct experience and dreaming, weaving colourful narratives inviting the reader into the realms of plant consciousness.

Friday evening:

Film Screening: In the turn

Herbal Jeopardy – back by popular demand! This is an exciting quiz show with questions on social justice, radical history, herbal trivia and folklore. All welcome, a chance to meet new folk and learn something!

Open Mic from 9.30pm – bring your voices and your instruments! We’ll be taking sign ups during the day on Friday.

Saturday evening:

We are very excited to welcome a special performance of ‘Three Acres And A Cow’ – a history of land rights and protest in folk song and story.

Three Acres And A Cow’ connects the Norman Conquest and Peasants’ Revolt with current issues of fracking and the housing crisis via the Enclosures, English Civil War, Irish Land League and Industrial Revolution, drawing a compelling narrative through the radical people’s history of Britain in folk song, stories and poems.

Part TED talk, part history lecture, part folk club sing-a-long, part poetry slam, part storytelling session… Come and share in these tales as they have been shared for generations.

DJ set from Jer… time to dance together!




Friday Space 1 Space 2 Space 3 Space 4
3-3.30 pm Opening space – welcome
3.30-5.30 Herbal Hydrosols – Chris Gambetese Magical Herbalism – Elizabeth Brooke Women’s Health – Lisa Fannen
5.30-6.30 Chris talking more about distillation
6.30-8 Dinner
20:00:00 Film – In the Turn Herbal Jeopardy followed by Open Mic
9.30-10.30 am Opening space – introduction and accounts from the community health projects that received Herbal Aide this year.