rivers & roots apprenticeship
Dates: Octobre 22-23, November 26-27, 2022, January 21-22, February 25-26, March 25-26, April 22-23, May 27-28, June 24-25, 2023
and TBA optional activities in July, August, September
Join us on over the course of 8 weekends, beginning this fall, where each season we learn to identify, sustainably harvest and process a variety of wild edible, medicinal, and otherwise interesting, useful, and helpful plants and mushrooms. In addition to the 8 weekends, apprentices will be invited to our summer roster of events,, including a foraging canoe trip (featuring our brand new birchbark canoe), and various foraging sortees. (these are considered optional bonuses, as we recognize that it can be difficult to schedule during the summer).
WILD FOODS! We will explore the world of delicious, healthy, and even gourmet wildfoods available all around us.
FERMENTATION! We will harness the amazing superpowers of yeasts and friendly bacteria to make wines, meads, ancient sacred beers, delicious healthy vinegars, and super healthy delicious sauerkrauts and kimchi, delicious natural sodas, pickles, and other ferments.
YOUR HERBAL & MUSHROOM APOTHECARY! On the medicinal side, we will be building up our own herbal first aid kit and home apothecary for health maintenance and treating every day and other illnesses.
BUSHCRAFT OF THIS LAND! Our relationship to the plant and mushroom world has always included fibres, dyes, woodwork, firemaking, tool making, hunting, basketry, and even transportation, (as we will explore through the building of the iconic birchbark canoe). As we re-awaken these relationships the world increasingly more abundant, animated, and even magical!
BEING HUMAN! This is our chance to be around the fire together; to share gratitude, awe, and community, as is our birthright. This is a time to share stories, both personal, and age-old. We share special meals together, and make space to discuss what it means to be alive in this time and place. Wherever possible, we will invite musicians, First Nations teachers, and guest teachers. There will also be plenty of opportunity to wander our trails, to explore our forest, creek, and fields.
- All materials will be supplied, (such as oils, jars, labels, medicinal alcohol)
- Handouts, including a colour coded calendar of local foraging options
- Opportunities to take cuttings and transplants from our wild areas and "wild" gardens
- Many options and resources for continued learning
- Lifelong access to our members page, with tons of recipes, resources, and anecdotes
- 20% fee reduction on any additional workshops for the 2022-2023 season
-1 hour monthly call with one of our mentors in your area of interest
Participants must be 16 yrs of age or older. (childcare may be available, please inquire!). Participants should be physically capable of hiking up and down hills. (If this is not possible, you may still participate in most of our program, but may have to miss out on some of our more strenuous harvesting activities).
2 Tiny Houses/Cabins may be available for an additional rental fee for those interested. Otherwise, participants camp out of on our property and have access to our:
& Walkout Basement suite complete with kitchen and bathroom (shower and toilet)
If you do not have access to camping gear, please let us know and we will do our best to find you some for you.
You will be responsible for your breakfast and lunch. You are welcome to use our outdoor kitchen, and/or Cabin kitchen. Evening meals will be a mix of potluck, our foraged wildfoods, and sometimes provided by us. The details will be in the pre-weekend emails. Please let us know of any dietary restrictions or allergies.
The general schedule is as follows:
Saturday: Our Saturday concentrates mainly on wild edible foods and their preparations. There will be a secondary emphasis on simple medicine harvesting and preparation. After our morning meeting, we will be wandering and foraging from various environments. Our afternoon will be about preparation of the harvest. Our second afternoon session will be spent helping to prepare wildfood inspired dishes and drinks for the evening's feast. The evening will include song and stories around the fire, and the opportunity if desired, to continue work on a plant based crafts.
Saturday evening: After some time to set up camp (for those that are camping), our outdoor kitchen will be available for preparing potluck meals, leading to a night of fire, introductions, sharing of passions and stories and inspirations, context weaving and gratitude, as well as an introduction to some simple plant based craft such as a basket, that some may wish to continue working on throughout the weekend and beyond. Whenever possible, we have guest musicians, storytellers, etc.
Sunday: Our Sunday sessions will centre more around foraging plants and mushrooms for health and medicine, as well as special areas of interest such as plant dyes, fibres, bushcraft, and other traditional uses. Closing circle will be at 2:30, although you are welcome to stay longer for project completion, rest, & wander!
July, August, September: It is sometimes difficult to schedule group activities during these summer months, but they are wonderful for foraging and it would be a shame to miss out! We will be offering some foraging canoe trips, and the occasional foraging classes and outings. The apprenticeship includes access to all our summer offerings (schedule TBA)
Half Internship option: Note that it is possible to register for just the Saturdays (Wildfoods, some medicine, and evening festivities) for $1200. Alternatively, One can sign up for the series of Sundays (medicines, bushcraft and special studies) for $800.
Cost: $2000+HST for full internship, $1200 for Saturdays only, $800 for Sundays only.
Deposit of $300 due upon registration to hold your spot.
Work trade and payment plans available. First Nations members may attend at cost (materials etc.), and there are scholarships available for immigrants, single parents, and otherwise financially challenged individuals with a passion for nature. Please inquire.
Please note that you will be taking home both processed and unprocessed foods and medicines. Some of our “special plant studies” will include projects that will have to be finished at home. You will also be given many resources for continued study, for the keen learners.
The following is the general structure of the class, and a tentative month by month curriculum. Please note that the classes will very much be responsive to the interests and the energy of the participants, what’s happening in nature, and sudden bursts of passion from the instructor, so the exact curriculum will vary.
Here's a potential overview of each class, though depending on participant interest and sudden inspirations, there may be some variation:
October: Bring in the harvest! Community celebration! As the warm days and food foraging season draws to a close, and the last of the calorie dense wild foods are dried, canned, frozen and otherwise transformed, we are called to feast and celebrate.
Saturday 29: Food: we will continue to harvest and process the end of the year wildfood, with an emphasis on the incredible potential of the humble acorn. Our Saturday will include a wild harvest meal open to the public, and a musical celebration for the Earth's gifts and the relationships that will sustain us through the winter. There will be an emphasis on fermentation of all kinds, including delicious hard wild apple cider and vinegar.
Evening: TBA. A wildfood feast, possibly with musical guests, and/or stargazing and stories, and an opportunity to make a cattail witch!
Sunday 30: The changing leaves reminds us of nature’s incredible palette of colours, and we will look at the huge world of natural dyes from plants, mushrooms, and lichens. We will aim to use the dyes to create a unique choose-your-own-project, such as knitted scarf, hand woven belt, or simply a naturally dyed cotton t-shirt. We will take part of this day to do a deep dive into mushroom identification, with an emphasis on fall and winter mushrooms. Other craft projects may include simple woven baskets, or a fire making kit such as a bow drill.
November: As the land turns to melancholy shades, our attention turns to the coming months. Medicines are made to stay healthy, and to cure illness in case we or our loved ones do get sick. We also look to the coming month of December and get ready for gatherings with family and friends with wild food recipes and nature-based gifts such as homemade moisturizing creams and cattail angels!
Saturday 26: concentration on making drinks, from wines, herbal “beers”, herbal sodas, as well as wild variations on sourcrouts and kimchi. We will get started on a winter apothecary of winter medicines, both to stay healthy, and to ease and cure sickness.
Sunday 27: Continuation of winter medicines. Also, thinking ahead to Christmas gifts, we make herbal body creams, and cattail angels. Depending on interest, we may also look at fire making techniques from the local environment (such as hand drill and bow drill), and/or introduction to wood for bow-making.
January: Welcoming the cold, sleepy land into our lives for sanity, health, and joy!
Saturday 28: black walnut processing, cooking with acorns, advanced herbal teas, herbal bitters, wild wonderful cocktails and mocktails! Evening options of storytelling and winter tour of winter stars.
Sunday 29: preparation for canoe building, a deeper dive into herbalism, winter wonderland snowshoeing.
February: The cold month of February allows us opportunity to craft medicinal teas and take part in a birch bark canoe building, as well as other crafts. Storytelling, fire-making and tracking round out the weekend. Bring snowshoes if you have them!
Saturday 25: A celebration of trees: Evergreen teas and tree bark medicines let us continue to forage even in the depth of winter. Most of these are perfect to keep us healthy through the winter. Winter is also a great time to go snowshoeing and search for the king of medicinal mushrooms: Chaga (Innotas obliquus)
Sunday 26: Birchbark canoe building and Algonquin teachings (if we can get an Algonquin teacher for the weekend)
March: The sap begins to flow, and we will harvest it and process it as a community!
Saturday 25: Maple sap, syrup and sugar, as well as lore and Algonquin techniques, including birch baskets.
Sunday 26: TBA (weather dependent)
April: The Earth Awakens!
Saturday 22:: Foods: root vegetables such as burdock, cattail rhizomes, spring ephemerals such as leeks, spring beauty, trout lily roots, and first greens such as Marsh marigold and Dame’s rocket. Tapping birch for sap and syrup Medicines: Coltsfoot honey and tinctures, tree bark medicines, Balsam poplar salve (Balm of Gilead),
Sunday 23: Preparing for wild "gardening", plant and mushroom propagation. Crafting willow shoot baskets.
May: Spring Fever!
Saturday 27: Foods: dandelion, fiddleheads, basswood leaves, wild leeks, wood nettles, pine, sprucetips Wild salads, cooked delicacies, and homemade ice-cream!
Sunday 28: Medicines: plantain and yarrow. Tree bark study: for medicines, bark baths, fibres, and baskets.
iii) dandelion wine.
June: Climax and the Solstice!
Saturday 24: Foods: wild strawberries, burdock stalk, carrot stalk, rose petals, cattails, milkweed, daisies. Evening Solstice bonfire, music and fun!
Sunday 25: i) Medicines: pine pollen, comfrey, red clover ii) Mushrooms: intro to spring and early summer mushrooms, iii) Crafting: bark baskets, basswood fibres, iv) Discussion (potential guest teacher): spirit of plants: a short discussion European and First Nations perspectives on plant spirit, consciousness, as well as folklore and magic! (in honour of the coming summer solstice), closing circle.
July, August, September: dates TBA. Choice of at least two canoe outings including our new birchbark canoe, and a series of foraging outings and short classes. If you miss some of these, we will still send you notes and videos.