The Gatherers Program: Foraging, Herbal Medicine and Basketry
The program has three main focuses: foraging edible plants, creating plant based medicine, and the use of natural fibers for the crafting of harvesting baskets.
In these three seasons, program participants will explore firsthand the many avenues of engaging the botanical (and fungi!) world. We will engage with plants throughout their life cycles and in their ecosystems. In addition to gathering and handcraft, we will address seasonal timing, harvesting tools and techniques, sustainable practices, and safety.
We want to facilitate you to become more comfortable and more intimately engaged with the plant realm. As a class we will get out and gather, prepare, store and eat wild edible foods throughout the growing season. We want you to be more comfortable with foraging what is local and available to you. We will learn to make herbal medicine to address everyday health and wellness and create tinctures, salves, oxymels, vinegars, teas, poultices and more. To gather, we need a vessel to carry what we collect. Working with local plants, students will make a willow harvesting basket, a black ash pack basket, and a plaited berry basket. We will also learn how to harvest and process wild fibers for cord, dye wool with local plants and use them to weave a strap. This course has a relaxed pace where we take our time. There will be additional handcraft projects to work on when we will inevitably find ourselves between tasks as bottles need to be poured, leaves stripped, and tinctures pressed. We will be placing a heavy emphasis on local abundant species that have thriving populations and take the time to give back to those plant communities.
Classes are a combination of lecture and hands on activity.
The course takes place one weekend a month from 10 AM Saturday to 4 PM Sunday. Student are welcome to camp on our land and prepare their meals in our outdoor kitchen. Class time will be supplemented with optional homework assignments and gathering suggestions. We encourage the students to bring in what they have been working on, recipes and products made to share and revel in. There is a wonderful energy to the group where we can engage with and learn from each others strengths.
Joining us will be several very talented guest instructors:
Sandra Kehoe for willow basket weaving.
Penny Hewitt Of Lazy Mill Treecraft for black ash basket weaving.
Dave Muska of Ondatra Adventures for wild mushroom identification and harvesting.
Betsy Bancroft of Vermont Center of Integrative Herbalism
April 15-16 Introduction, Basic Botany, Vinegars, Oxymels and Fire Cider, Herbal Oil Preparation, Herbal Teas: Cold and Hot Infusions, Decoctions, Mead Making
May 6-7 Ribbed Willow Harvesting Basket with Sandra Kehoe and Spring Greens and Roots
June 10-11 Bark Harvesting, Tincture Preparation: Folk Weight to Volume and Double Extraction, Harvesting Tools and Basic Practices, Early Summer Edibles
July 1-2 Black Ash Pack Baskets
July 29-30 Summer Edibles, Diagonally Plaited Baskets, Cordials, Salves
August 19-20 Mushroom Foraging, Bitters, Plant based wool dyes
September 9-10 Fall Roots, Nuts and Fruits, Strap Weaving with Plant Dyed Wool, Herbal First Aid Kit Construction
September 30-October 1 Fall Nuts and Seeds Harvesting and Processing, Wild Fibers, Final Feast
Grants: Qualifying Vermont residents may apply for Vermont Student Assistance Corporation, (VSAC) non-degree grants. Be aware that VSAC begins its funding cycle in June and January of each year and awards grants on a first-come-first-serve basis while funds last. Please apply early! Students who apply for VSAC grants are asked to submit $500.00 non-refundable deposit with your registration form. When the grant is issued at the start of the program, we will refund whatever amount of your deposit is in excess of the tuition. VSAC application forms may be obtained from Vermont Student Assistance Corporation: 1-800-882-4166 or write P.O. Box 2000, Champlain Mill, Winooski, VT 05404-2601.
The Gatherers Program 2022
April 15, 2023 - April 16, 2023
10:00 am - 4:00 pm