The Wild Apothecary | A mini-program in wildcrafting
About Your Instructor
Jessy Delleman is the founder of Fireweed Farm & School, and Ravensong Seeds & Herbals. She is a practicing herbalist, wildcrafter, herb grower, medicine maker since 2008; and is forever a student of nature. Her passion is the reception of direct knowledge of a plants medicine through the nature given senses, and facilitating that means of knowing for her students through hands-on and experiential learning.
Guest teachers for the course include herbalist Harmony Pillon, and Tsartlip First Nations elder Frazer Smith.
Classes take place at Fireweed Farm & School on WSANEC Territories, 7159 Wallace Dr, Brentwood Bay BC. There will be additional field trips to natural areas for plant walks and harvesting. We will be traveling to different locations in the area, and there will be also be a wildcrafting field trip to Lake Cowichan. It will be helpful to have your own vehicle for the course, but carpooling with your classmates may be possible.
We are offering an early-bird price of $725 for full registration before Monday September 16th. After this date the full tuition for the course is $790. Tuition may be paid in full on or before the first day of class. A three instalment payment plan is also available, with a payment of $270 due on the first day of class each month (Sept 21st, Oct 19th, and Nov 16th). The first instalment, or $270 toward tuition is required as a deposit at time of registration to hold your spot in the program. Please see our policies regarding cancelations and refunds.
Classes take place one weekend per month for 3 months. Each class day runs from 9am-4pm. Here are the dates for the fall 2019 session:
September 21st & 22nd
October 19th & 20th
November 16th & 17th
To develop a sense of having a real, living relationship with the land, that is reciprocal in nature. To learn the medicinal uses of local plants, how to identify them, harvest them in a respectful and sustainable way, and begin to make potent medicines with the plants to help heal yourself and community.
When we understand basic botany and the manner in which each plant grows, we can learn harvesting techniques that will act to increase a plants growth and well-being, rather that harm it or deplete it in any way. Sustainable harvesting requires the awareness of the needs of the plants, as well other species and traditions that exist in relationship with the plants.
Learning how to harvest wild plants in a sustainable way requires building a relationship to the land and takes many years of observation and dedication. It is something that, just like in all of nature, is always evolving and changing. It requires one to tread lightly on the land, often returning to the same harvest spots year after year to seek to fully understand how we may be impacting the plants and the ecosystem.
During the course we will explore not only how to take gently from the land, but also ways in which we can give back to the land. Students will have the opportunity to practice wild harvesting hands-on with several plants. Wild harvest field trips will take place locally in the Central Saanich area, there will also be a day-long field trip to Lake Cowichan to harvest Devil’s Club.
Local Materia Medica & Plant Identification
In materia medica we learn the medicinal uses and actions of the individual plant species. In this course we will be learning materia medica for the following native wild plants:
Cedar (Thuja plicata)
Oregon Grape (Mahonia nervosa)
Sword Fern (Polystichum munitum)
Arbutus (Arbutus menziesii)
Seaside Juniper (Juniperus maritima)
Devil’s Club (Oplopanax horridus)
Gumweed (Grindelia stricta)
Yarrow (Achillea millifolium)
Elder (Sambucus racemosa & Sambucus cerulea)
Poplar (Populus trichocarpa & Populus tremuloides)
Old Man’s Beard (Usnea longissima & Usnea worthii)
Stinging Nettle (Urtica dioica)
Nature outings and walks during the course will allow students to meet the plants in person, learn their natural habitats and identify them in the wild.
Harvesting through the Seasons for Medicinal Potency
Each plant species, and plant part (root, bark, leaf, flower, seed), that we harvest has a unique window of peak potency for medicinal use. During the course we will discus the optimal harvest times for each herb. Students will also learn to engage their senses so that they can gage first-hand through taste, touch, smell, and feel when a plant is ready to harvest.
Basic Medicine Making
This course offers a brief overview of the different types of medicinal preparations including teas, tinctures, infused oils, salves, liniments, and infused vinegars that can be made with the wild plants. The instructor will provide a demonstration and informational hand-outs on each preparation. Students will also have the opportunity to practice hands-on tincture making.
Further instruction on herbal medicine making is recommended for those who are interested, and can be obtained through the separate Medicine Making Intensive with Jessy offered at Fireweed.
Plant Spirit Medicine & Indigenous way of Knowing
Nature is our greatest teacher and ally. No book, no video, no podcast, no program, no individual, can instil in us the deep-rooted knowledge that comes from learning directly from the plants themselves, and nature as a whole. Speaking a language that we once all new and understood, the plants can offer us direct knowledge of their medicine. Learning this language is a practice, a refining and reawakening of the senses we already have laying dormant within us, and were the common language of indigenous cultures around the world.
During the course students will have the opportunity to practice sitting with plants in heart-centred communion. We will be taking a field trip to Tsartlip First Nation where we will spend the day with medicine carrier and elder Frazer Smith to explore indigenous ways of knowing.
Full Tuition $790
Registration deposit only $270