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Wild Things: A Year of Wild Food & Medicine Online

The Wild Things Course is an eight month exploration of British wild food and medicine plants growing in a variety of habitats through the seasons. 

It provides opportunities to gain confidence in low impact foraging, beginners botany and ecology, and to develop a sensory approach to using wild plants both as food and medicine. There will be a combination of theoretical sessions, practical remedy making tutorials and introductions to many different plant species which you are encouraged to go out and meet in person yourselves.

Increasingly today our food and medicine is flown to us from far regions of the globe. Health food shops are stocked with ‘superfoods’ from rare and diminishing habitats, and we are commonly offered endangered species like Arnica & Echinacea. We have lost our connection to our local bioregions, and with it all of the history and traditions that our landscape and the plants that grow there can offer us. This course is about re-connection
& about building sustainable, healthful practices through a deepening relationship with our local ecosystems.

The plants that are covered on this course are those that are common and abundant in the Northern British Isles. While the theoretical elements and practical remedy making sessions will be applicable wherever you are, we suggest this course will fit best for people living in the British Isles or in a similar climate. 

About Grass Roots Remedies Co-operative

We are an Edinburgh based workers' cooperative whose central philosophy is that herbal medicine is the medicine of the people and should be accessible to everyone. We offer a series of practical courses and workshops, run the low cost Wester Hailes Community Herbal Medicine Clinic, the North Edinburgh Community Herbal Clinic, and produce simple resources to enable folks to practice herbalism at home.

For more information check out our website here: www.grassrootsremedies.co.uk

Course Outcomes

● Develop an understanding of the ethics and practice of ecological harvesting and gain confidence in ​low impact foraging
● Try out recipes and ​ learn practical remedy making​ skills for home use
● Learn about the edible and ​ medicinal properties of some of our common British plants​ and when to harvest them
● Develop a ​sensory approach to herbal medicine
● Beginners botany and ecology​ and the ability to confidently identify common species
● Gain an understanding of how to live more harmoniously with the seasons

Course Format

This course consists of 15 fortnightly sessions spanning from March to October to cover a range of seasons. Each fortnight we will release a new session which alternate between 'indoor' theoretical content mixed with practical remedy making skills & sensory herbal tea tastings, and 'outdoor' virtual plant walks exploring the common and abundant plants of that season. In total there are 8 'indoor' sessions and 7 'outdoor' sessions. Each session comes with a guided sensory tea tasting - we will post 15 'mystery herbs' out to you at the start of the course to explore with us over the 8 months. The course handbook covers 40 common plant species, and beyond this we will meet many others on our virtual walks.

  • Handbook '40 Herbs By Season of Harvesting, Herbal Action, Body System & Suitable Preparations'
  • 15 in depth herb monographs covering Plant ID, Parts Used, Edibility & Nutrition, Constituents, Medicinal actions & Therapeutics, Uses, History & Folklore, Preparations, Growing and Harvesting
  • 7 herb walks following the seasons presented through videos, audio recordings & photographs
  • Classroom sessions on these topics: Botany Basics, Introduction to Traditional Western Herbalism, Introduction to Sensory Herbalism, Ecology Basics, Plant Communities, Sustainable Foraging, Foraging & The Law (UK), Spring Tonics, Herbal Actions, Sensory Approach to Plant Chemistry, Introduction to Seed Saving & Invasive Species, Preserving the Bountiful Autumn, Foraging in the Dark Months, Home Medicine Chest Creation
  • Practical Tutorials on: Exploring the Tastes of Herbs, Spring Tonics, Identifying Edible Weeds in Your Garden, Harvesting Drying & Storing Herbs, Infusions & Decoctions, Tincture Making, Infused Oils, Herbal Ointments, Herbal Salts, Raw & Cooked Herbal Syrups & Herbal Infused Vinegars 
  • 15 'Mystery' herbs posted out to you for sensory herb tastings 

    Dates for Content Release for the 2020 Course

    *Please note there is an amended scedule for March & April 2020 due to the outbreak of the Coronavirus. We have pushed the start date of the course back because of this and so the first few sessions are closer together than normal.

    Content will be released on the following Thursdays at 6pm (GMT)

    1. Indoor Session 1 - Thursday 2nd April
    2. Herb Walk 1 - Thursday 9th April
    3. Indoor Session 2 - Thursday 16th April
    4. Herb Walk 2 - Thursday 30th April
    5. Indoor Session 3 - Thursday 14th May
    6. Herb Walk 3 - Thursday 28th May
    7. Indoor Session 4 - Thursday 11th June
    8. Herb Walk 4 - Thursday 9th July
    9. Indoor  Session 5 - Thursday 23rd July
    10. Herb Walk 5 - Thursday August 6th
    11. Indoor Session 6 - Thursday August 20th
    12. Herb Walk 6 - Thursday September 3rd
    13. Indoor Session 7 - Thursday September 17th
    14. Herb Walk 7 - Thursday 1st October
    15. Indoor Session 8 - Thursday 15th October 
      • A very informative course with no prior knowledge required. Delightfully presented by very knowledgeable women who have very practical experience: this is a must for anyone interested in learning about healthy ways of living and being

        — Participant of Wild Things 2017 (In Person) Course
      • Grass Roots Remedies encouraged us and ignited interest and passion for the wonderful world of plants, herbs and the magical properties that they contain. Now, I am often exhausted by travelling through nature as (even more so than previously) I want to stop and examine every growing thing and wonder what family it belongs to, what properties it has, the medicine it can provide for us and the connection it provides us to our ancestors of the past.

        — Participant of Wild Things 2018 (In Person) Course
      • I loved learning about herbs throughout the year, and particularly enjoyed noticing seasonal change during the course. Each session was delivered with an enjoyable mixture of botanical science, folklore and practical activities. There was a good balance of the local and the global, and each session left me wanting to explore more. The facilitators shared their knowledge and experience expertly – making it accessible and understandable, but always able to answer more in-depth questions. I would highly recommend this course

        — Participant of Wild Things 2019 (In Person) Course

      How Much Does It Cost?

      The Course has four options for pricing, offered on a sliding scale i.e. you pay a price in keeping with your ability to pay. They range from £220 to £550:

      Option 1 - £220   (limited to 4 places only) 

      Option 2 - £350

      Option 3 - £450

      Option 4 - £550

      Why do we use a sliding scale?

      Our core aim in Grass Roots Remedies Co-operative is to try and make herbal knowledge, skills & consultations accessible to everyone. As well as running herb walks, courses & workshops we also provide a community clinic in Wester Hailes which runs by donation to local people (the only one of its kind in Scotland), and a sliding scale community clinic in Granton, both of which have free workshops running alongside them.

      We use a sliding scale in our workshops and courses: a sliding scale is a mechanism where people pay different fees according to their income, so that services can be made accessible to as many people as possible, and folk are less financially excluded. A sliding scale means that everyone pays a similar proportion of their income for the same service. This increases access for people who are systemically excluded from participating in community activities such as people of colour, people with disabilities or health conditions, immigrants, women-led groups, LGBTQ* & working class communities.

      By paying a higher rate on the scale if you can afford it, you are enabling us to carry out our core work of providing free and low cost education & herbal consultations in areas of deprivation. We really appreciate your continuing support.

      How much should I pay?

      We acknowledge that the average annual full-time salary in Scotland is roughly £20,000 but there are many other factors which determine how much expendable income and financial security folks have. Below are some guidelines to inform which course fee is most appropriate for your situation. We appreciate that everyone’s situation is different and this is a guideline only. We won’t ask for any proof of your personal circumstances and trust each person to judge for themselves which price feels right for you.

      For example, if you are purchasing a £220 place you may:

      - have access to benefits or are employed but have very limited expendable income 

      -have limited savings and/or limited access to any financial support from others 

      - be a carer and/or have dependants 

      - have no recourse to public funds                                               

      -have chronic health issues which impact your financial security

      For example, if you are purchasing a £550 place you may:

      - be able to comfortably meet your basic needs, have savings and an expendable income

      -any debt that you have doesn’t impact your daily life                           

      - own property, or comfortably rent a property

      - own a car and can afford fuel                                                               

      - be able to afford to go on holidays

      Table of Contents

      Session 1: March
      Introductions & Some Basic Principles
      video
      Introduction to Sensory Herbalism
      video
      Mystery Herb Number 1
      Feedback
      Herb Walk 1: March
      Herb Walk 1
      video
      Mystery Herb Number 2
      Session 2: April
      Ecology & Plant Communities
      video
      Sustainable Foraging Practice
      Spring Tonics
      Mystery Herb Number 3
      Herb Walk 2: April
      Herb Walk 2
      video
      Mystery Herb Number 4
      Session 3: May
      Introduction to Herbal Preparations
      video
      Harvesting, Drying & Storing
      video
      Infusions & Decoctions
      video

      Frequently Asked Questions

      How long do I have access to the course?

      Students for 2020 will have access to all of the course materials until 31st December 2020.

      What is your refund policy?

      If you have booked onto the course but have changed your mind we can fully refund minus a 5% transaction fee up until 9th April 2020. No refunds can be given after this date.

      I still have a question, how can I contact you?

      I'd be happy to answer any questions you might have. Send me an email at hello@grassrootsremedies.co.uk.

      I'm pregnant, breastfeeding or have a medical condition. Is this course safe for me?

      One key component of the course is our guided sensory herbal tea tastings - we will post out 15 mystery herbs at the start of the course and provide you with guidance on meeting them with all of your senses. For each herb we will provide any contraindications in advance so you can decide for yourself if it is suitable for you to taste them or not. If you have any questions about this, you'll be able to check in with us, and there's no pressure to taste any of them. We will provide full monographs on each herb afterwards anyway.

      I live outside of the British Isles, is this course suitable for me?

      The plants that are covered on this course are those that are common and abundant in the Northern British Isles. While the theoretical elements and practical remedy making sessions will be applicable wherever you are, we suggest this course will fit best for people living in the British Isles or in a similar climate.
      If you live outside the British Isles we will not be able to post the 15 Mystery Herbs to you. You are welcome to join this course and explore these in your own way.