Reconnecting to Nature: Herbalism and Acorns with John Slattery
Healing with Plants: Developing Relationship with Plants & Place
Acorns, our Ancestral Food: Gathering, Eating, Ancient Lore
with herbalist & forager, John Slattery
Parc Naturel Régional Haute Vallée de Chevreuse
October 12-14, 2018
Full Workshop fee - $360
Friday or Saturday only - $140
Sunday only - $160
Are you excited to learn more about the healing and edible plants in your area?
Looking to feel restored through time spent in Nature? or develop a deeper connection to the natural world around you?
In this 3-day workshop sponsored by the Parc Naturel Régional Haute Vallée de Chevreuse (Regional Nature Park of the Upper Chevreuse Valley) near Paris, France, led by American herbalist and forager, John Slattery, we will explore the fundamental aspects of bioregional herbalism: developing relationship with place and the plants within it. This endeavor leads us to the study of field botany, respectful wildcrafting and participation with our environment, plant energetics, landscape observation, developing and exercising the senses (particularly the feeling sense), herbal medicine making, and applying these medicines for well-being and healing utilizing our knowledge of our homeland and plant energetics. On Sunday, we’ll also process dry acorns for food going through all the essential steps to create a nutritious and delicious food which sustained all of our ancestors for millennia. We’ll culminate this day with a fabulous meal made from the acorns we’ve processed.
Becoming bioregional in our approach is something akin to how our ancestors lived in relationship with the local landscape which nourished them and healed them. Pre-industrial language reflected this deep relationship with the landscape. When we take time to listen to the land once again, to hear her song, we rediscover the wisdom latent within the everliving spirit of mother earth... and that which resides within each of us. When we step out onto the land and engage our receptivity, the land speaks to us, and our ancestors speak to us through the land, through the seasons, as well as the plants themselves.
Deep, intimate connection through continued observation of our environment is the foundation for becoming a bioregional herbalist, for becoming a fully engaged human. Knowledge is derived from experience, and wisdom through continued practice and observation of Nature (people, place, and plants). Learning about the plants found naturally occuring around us, in their natural habitat, begins to deepen our relationship to place. Little by little, patterns begin to emerge which inform us as to how we can use plants for medicine.
If you are called to develop relationship with the plants around you for food and medicine, but unsure how to begin, then this workshop is just for you.
Also, if you have been gathering knowledge about the plants around you, but would like to go deeper, this workshop is also for you.
Our first two days will be spent exploring the plants of the Rambouillet forest. Through a varied and fluid approach, including practicing observation of our surroundings, exploration of the feeling sense through our experiences with the living plants we meet, through ingesting teas and tinctures, through the expression of our experiences as a group, and an informative discussion to encapsulate and contextualize these experiences, we will learn what it means to ‘become bioregional’ in our approach. John’s skill in coalescing these group explorations into a tapestry of teachings enables each participant to gain the knowledge that’s available to them at that moment. Additionally, we will discuss and thoroughly demonstrate basic herbal preparations with plant material we gather.
The exercises in this workshop will introduce the participant to a method of learning which is empowering, distinctly individualized, unusually contextual, and highly experiential.
Each participant will leave this workshop with an enhanced appreciation for oaks, their lore, and cultural and spiritual significance as well as the ability to fully process acorns for food and create a variety of delicious foods with this abundant and nutritious ancestral food.
Learning about plants which naturally grow and thrive around you by developing relationship with the place in which you live is part of who we are, each and every one of us. It is time to reawaken to this and embrace it.
Bringing together concepts which are deeply familiar, yet widely applicable serves to uplift the participant to a new level of growth and learning.
Sunday - Acorns, our Ancestral Food: Gathering, Eating, Ancient Lore
In this information-packed, hands-on workshop John will take the participants through all the steps of processing acorns for food.
We’ll delve into the rich tapestry of ancient history surrounding oaks and acorns amidst a forest of oaks (Quercus robur), take a walk through an old oak grove, fully process acorns to prepare them for cooking, and enjoy a delicious acorn and foraged food meal to wrap up the day. All participants will get hands-on experience with processing acorns, and everyone will leave with the knowledge and experience to properly process any and all acorns for food.
The virtues, history, and ethnobotany of oaks and acorns is vast and diverse. Walking through the portal, the doorway (from old Irish, duir, ‘oak’, ‘door’), of the ancient wisdom keepers, we'll begin our workshop with some time amongst the oak trees as John guides us on a walk through the history of oaks in the ancient world highlighting why oaks were so important and highly revered by our ancestors of the northern hemisphere and how we may have so greatly diverged from this once staple food source.
We’ll process dry acorns and turn them into a ready to use flour using basic tools and techniques. There are so many ways to utilize acorn flour in your everyday home cooking, and John will provide a variety of suggestions for you to take home as we’ll also prepare a group feast to wrap up and celebrate our time together.
There is no equipment or prior experience necessary to participate in this class. Just bring an open mind and willingness to learn. Each participant will receive handouts detailing the acorn processing procedures we'll cover in class.
Feel free to bring your dried acorns to class for processing if you have them.
Single day registration for Friday, Saturday, or Sunday is also available.
A list of what to bring and local accommodations will be sent upon registration.
John Slattery, Bioregional Herbalist