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June 13/14 – Herb Weekend, SLAS, Roberts Creek

June 1, 2009

Please pass around where appropriate!

Two days of herb nerds! What could be better? We’ll learn recognition skills, making basic medicines, native herbs, harvest and storage techniques and more $25 per class.- take one or take all. You can either pay by Visa or Mastercard  via Paypal right away or mail her a cheque. 80% of student fees go directly to the teachers, with another 10% for preparing for classes and promotion.  Attending these workshops is a direct way to support folks who live on the land and keep the skills and traditions of the sustainable living arts alive.

If you are part of a family or group of friends who would like to learn and practice together, get in touch with Robin to arrange group pricing. Edible Landscapes is a place to come to reconnect, learn, relax and get inspired on how we can increase our self-sufficiency…together. You can camp on the land, hike to the ocean, walk in the woods, wander the gardens, browse in the edible and medicinal plant nursery and medicine emporium.

To register, contact Robin at (604) 885-4505, or email (and she will invoice you via Paypal) – see details on other programs at or

June 13

10:00 – 11:30    Herb Recognition and growing methods with Robin Wheeler
Seeing a plant bursting with vigour and swaying under the weight of the bees, instead of just in powdered form or tincture, is a great reminder that we are working with an integrated, energetic being when we make medicine. See, smell and taste some of the over 150 varieties of plants here so that you will more easily recognize them in the future. Take photos or leaf samples as that can help as well. We will discuss growing methods for those wishing to grow herbs at home.

11:45 – 1:00   Intro to Botany for Herbalists with Garliq

This class is designed to navigate the world of Green, to know why a plant is what it is and not a ‘look alike.’ We’ll learn to answer a few basic questions about flower and leaf structures that will enable us to be sure we’re working with the medicine we think we are. Please bring samples from Robin’s plant walk to help apply this learning directly.

1:00 – 1:45   Lunch – brown bag or order $6 snack lunch.

1:45 – 3:15   TBA – hopefully Infused oils and lotions with Barb Cotgrave of Halfmoon Herbals.

3:30 – 4:45  – Harvesting and Storage Techniques with Robin Wheeler
We will go outside and harvest leaves, stems and flowers, then go in and prepare them for drying. When we store herbs for any length of time, we want to use the best practices possible, know the problems that can occur and how to bypass them to retain high active levels in our medicine and culinary plants.

5:00 onwards – shared/potluck dinner.

7:00 – 8:30     Homeopathy and Herbs with Marlow Purves
Herbs and plants are a major remedy source in the homoeopathic pharmacopeia.  The herbs that have been used traditionally for thousands of years find new and different application when potentised.  Marlow will share some of the revelations of the remedies made from common herbs as a means of enhancing our knowledge, respect for and awe of our healing companions. We will likely try to potentize a herb for ourselves!

June 14

10:00 – 11:30    Introduction to Chinese herbs with Sarah Gilbert and Julie Starsage
Ancient Chinese systems are based on far different diagnostic criteria than we are used to, and the forms their medicines take, in terms of preparation and ingestion, are also new to us. Sarah will introduce us to herbs and formulas that have been appreciated for centuries, and give us a better idea of how they are used in modern times.

11:45 – 12:45    Wildcrafting Basics with Lyrae Emerson

An examination of the methods of ethically harvesting wild and indigenous plants in a manner that minimizes impact on the population while maximizing their medicinal potential. We will look at tools, time of year to harvest roots, barks, stems and other plant parts, as well as look at how the practice of wildcrafting in itself can be a healing experience. Comes with take home instruction sheet on wildcrafting and harvesting guidelines.

12:45 – 1:30    Lunch – brown bag or order the $6 snack lunch.

1:30 – 3:30 – Making Plant Medicine with Lyrae Emerson
Learn how to turn your raw or dried plant matter into finished medicines. Lyrae will discuss and show preparation of infusions, pills, teas and tinctures, show and share samples, discuss alternate procedures, and basically give a solid background so that people new to the field can go home and follow recipes with confidence.

3:45 – 5:00     Native Use of Herbs with Cymba
Consisting of in-the-field plant identification, discussing traditional and contemporary uses of these plants.  Food, medicinal and ceremonial uses will be covered as well as ecologically sustainable harvesting techniques.  A hands-on component will include topical salves making (everyone will leave with a traditional medicine).

Shared potluck dinner to follow for all who want to continue exchanging thoughts.

2 Comments leave one →
  1. September 11, 2009 2:01 pm

    Wildcrafting is a potential red herring of sustainability. Here is why. I have lived almost my whole life in rural BC, the south central, the coast,the north and northwestern areas of B.C. It is true, we have an incredible province where those who want wilderness can still find it. I’ve picked wild berries for family preserves, jams and chutneys as well as harvested a few Christmas wreath boughs when snow is on the ground. I’ve seen vista’s that would bring a grown person to their knees in awe.
    The practice of wildcrafting is what our First Nations brothers and sisters have done forever. That style was sustainable because of relatively low numbers of harvesters. Mushrooms are harvested actively in our Northwest region and sometimes the trails made to the harvest ground is like a foot path freeway. The mushroom harvesting industry has good and bad practitioners in the pursuit of the lucrative mushrooms. Some of these practitioners go to great lengths to train their people to cut the mushroom instead of yanking the top, stem and root. Some practice good back country ethics of pack in your food and pack out your garbage and leave the area with little footprint of man being there. So having said all this, I don’t think its all wrong to promote wildcrafting.
    I have not been to one of workshops with Lyre Emerson or others, so I cannot say that standard practices of ethics are taught or if they match some kind of wild crafting standards in keeping with preserving the habitat of our wildlands for the animals and creatures that live there.
    This is my concern.
    Will the promotion of this kind of activity promote the further degradation of our forest land, our riparian areas and rainforests? Care must be taken to think through all the aspects of impact. Have you written a conclusive handbook that goes along with the participants after the workshop is done? What kind of ethical statement of completion do the participants agree to? Who will monitor the outcome of increased interest in this industry? How will the enforcement be done? More specialized Conservation Officers? We don’t have enough C.O’s already, so what hope of monitoring to prevent the habitat loss would come anyway? Maybe these are thoughts that others share and want to comment on mine. Maybe you might already have a plan to mitigate these concerns. If so, lets here about it?

  2. September 17, 2009 8:28 pm

    It’s true, Caroline, that I assume people, by the time they leave here after two days, will feel very differently about how they treat plants and the planet! And I don’t make a big deal out of it. Cymba smudges everyone before they go to meet the plants to get them ready for the experience, and the first thing I teach even in plant recognition is to send thanks to the plant when gently taking a pinch of leaf to smell and taste. So the whole thing is about respect, and the land reflects that with humming life, and people really feel the difference.
    I know many of us live in horrer at how others treat our planet, and that is why I am glad you spoke out – we need lots of people speaking out. And we need lots of people seeing the planet as holy. But still, I don’t think I would change my ads to reflect that because it is just natural to what I do, and I think it is good for others to just find it is the natural thing to do – to be peaceful and careful. And we could certainly take all wildcrafting lessons away all over BC, but I would still rather that it was offered and taught lots of lessons of respect.
    We don’t have much problem here with the herbs because people will not go far off the beaten path. But mushrooms are a different story. I am so glad the bottom fell out of the pine mushroom market! It was terrible here – people would walk right down my driveway with rakes and baskets and I’d be yelling at them, and they would just go find another patch of forest.
    I am writing a new book now directed to people heading to live in the country and there is going to be LOTS about respect, and where humans belong in the scheme of things, believe you me! So I hope to do my bit to help with the problem!
    Stay strong –

    —– Original Message —–
    From: Caroline Heinrichs
    To: Robin Wheeler
    Sent: Saturday, September 12, 2009 7:21 PM
    Subject: Re: [Sustainable Living Arts School] Comment: “June 13/14 – Herb Weekend, SLAS, Roberts Creek”

    HI Robin,
    I’m sorry if I sound like I’m insinuating anything. Its just that up here where I live, the wilderness is assaulted by anyone who can see a buck in the bush. Its critical that proper education is taught. I still maintain that wildcrafting has the potential to be a abused and used like so much of mother nature.

    Please don’t take my thoughts as criticism of your work. Its not meant that way. I live in the wilds and I don’t often see folks who really care about the environment that is there for them to enjoy. It’s alot about use and abuse and get what you came for and leave whatever you brought with you.

    I’m sure that care is taken by you to properly inform folks, but your advertisement doesn’t elude to this information.

    Take care, Caroline

    On Fri, Sep 11, 2009 at 5:50 PM, Robin Wheeler wrote:

    Caroline, we insist on offering Wildcrafting every time we do a herb class because it is an opportunity to discuss the issues you have mentioned. There is no point in teaching people to recognize and use herbs without also telling them of the fragility of the ecosystem they come from, and how a colony must be respected. The two people who guide this class also teach blessing, greeting and thanking rituals as they go. They teach it on my little property where I point out that I have established colonies so that I do not have to go into the woods again, and that I obviously am very careful not to overharvest my own land because it would be stupid.
    Most people who come to these classes are from the city and have no intention of going into the forest but it is wonderful for them to see plants in their own setting, and see them as living, breathing entities and not as dried product in a bag. And if they are ever to harvest on their own, now they have mental tools for making decisions. I think that is important and absolutely must be addressed.
    I think it is great that you addressed this with me but you certainly insinuate that we have not thought of this issue ourselves.

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