Monday, July 30, 2018

Mountain Rose Herbs Giving Project Application in support of Herbal Medicine Apprenticeship Program

As many of you know, I ran my Herbal Medicine Apprenticeship: An Exploration of Wild Foods and Plant Medicines of the San Juans for the first time in 2017 with a small group of women. It was a life-changing experience for me and for many of the students, and there is much support in our community for allowing it to continue. Having a program like this in the San Juan Islands allows people who would be unable to travel to the mainland for such education to have this kind of learning experience. Community members are also excited to have a program that is focused on our unique plant life—a one-of-a-kind offering. Additionally programming like this offers a means of connection for people who are living in a somewhat isolated situation—on an island in the Salish Sea—and a way of expanding local herbal wisdom outward beyond our community as students share their work with others.

My goal is to make the Apprenticeship accessible to students of all income levels in this community. Much to the disappointment of new and returning students for 2018, I was unable to run the program at the same pricing, and many students were not able to afford higher tuition. We have since been looking for ways to fund this unique, immersive herbalism learning opportunity in the San Juan Islands. The Mountain Rose Herbs Giving Project is a great opportunity for funding for this program, and for collaboration in support of our mutual vision for a sustainable future. 

Offering the Apprenticeship program is important to me because it is how I first learned about herbalism ten years ago—through an Apprenticeship program with Robin Rose Bennett in New York. It helped reconnect and enliven my spirit in ways I had never thought possible, and the nourishing, beautiful space Robin created for us fostered intimate relationships with sisters I will have for a lifetime. This is the type of experience I hope to pass on to the students in my Apprenticeship. Ryan Drum has taught me so much about life, off-grid living, health and wellness in addition to our local land and sea plant medicines. I hope, through this program and my other teachings, to continue his legacy of vast knowledge of the plants in our islands and wildcrafting ways for the next generation of herbal medicine students.
Through living off-grid in a primitive situation, I developed a new relationship and deep connection with the resources in my environment; I realized in a very tangible way how much these resources are impacted by everyone in our community, our region, and our world and that we can’t create health and sustainability for the planet in isolation. I loved the freedom, empowerment and rich connection of being able to harvest wild foods from the land and sea. Eating where I live and spending time harvesting and working with plants in my environment over the course of many seasons, many years, has been an invaluable teacher of how to work with plant medicines sustainably—not just through the avoidance of inflicting harm on the landscape but in new ways of engaging with plants in our environment that is collaborative or beneficial to the system. What’s more, this work has instilled a deep-rooted investment in defending the health of the place where I live and continues to inspire creative ways to sustain it for generations to come. It is my hope that through this immersive Apprenticeship program, I can offer a setting for similar learning experiences to happen for more people who bring their own gifts for innovation change—as my small part in the greater work that so many others are doing in these times: creating a new future for the coming generations and deep nourishment and healing for people, plants, and the planet.

Check out this video on my program that 2017 student Colleen Stewart and I put together for the Mountain Rose Grant Application: 

If you are interested in supporting this program or joining us for 2019, please email me at

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