OAEC is a non-profit education center in Sonoma County that works to promote ecologically and culturally resilient communities. Learn more.
Healing Through Food, Gardening, Herbs, and Ceremony: Remembering Our Way
“When people walk through the gardens at OAEC, they are touched by a deeper knowing of what nourishes them, something so many of us yearn for today. It is one of the great joys of my life to share these gardens with others, exploring the wisdom that they hold.”
-Michelle Vesser, Garden Production Manager
Time: Begins at 10:00am on July 18th and ends at 4:00pm on the 20th
Instructor: Michelle Vesser
We will gather in OAEC’s Mother Garden for this 3-day workshop to remember our connection with the Earth, the soil, the food that nourishes us, and the healing ways of the plant world.
During this hands-on course, we will explore the wisdom of plant spirit medicine, medicinal herbs and oils, gardening as a practical and spiritual practice, and food as medicine.
Each day we will meet in a sharing circle and our dinner table will become our altar of gratitude. The workshop will also cover Weston A. Price’s pioneering work in health and nutrition developed during the 1930’s, while studying the vitality of traditional people before the introduction of processed foods. We will discuss and practice ways of including this wisdom for a healthy future for both ourselves and the Earth.
- Click here for the sample syllabus.
- Click here to read an article the instructor, Michelle, wrote about this course.
- Click here for directions.
Cost: $495 ($445 if registered three weeks in advance) - this course includes lodging and 3 homemade organic meals a day. The deposit amount for this course is $100.
- Please note that online registration includes a 2.99% processing fee. To avoid this fee, read about how to register by mail.
- For a more detailed description of our facilities, including information on what to bring, visit our Participant's Information page.
Friday – Plant and Herb Focus
• Plant spirit medicine – We will take time to begin a healing relationship with plants through meditation and drawing, and discover the medicine they have to offer us.
• Preparing herbal oil infusions – After meeting the plants and discussing their properties, we will harvest herbs from the garden and wild areas. The techniques of preparing both fresh and 24 hour dry plant infusion medicinal oils will be covered and demonstrated. The following day we will prepare these oils into salves, slathers, lip balm and body salts.
• After our evening meal in the garden, we will see a presentation on Weston A. Price’s work and his contribution to nutrition.
Saturday – Gardening Focus (practically and spiritually)
• Reimagining the world of weeds – we will enter a broad and fascinating world of weeds as our food, medicine, and soil indicators. It will change forever how you look at the green plants that appear everywhere.
• Composting – We will take plants that we have cleared from the garden beds and begin the process that transforms them into beautiful humus that feeds the Earth and the plant world.
• Tai Chi of Gardening – How to strengthen your body while avoiding injury using the foundations of Tai Chi. You will learn the basics of being rooted, developing leg strength, proper posture, moving with your waist, and using tools as an extension of your body.
• Bed Preparation – We cover all the steps of cultivating garden beds. We will open, edge, add amendments, turn the bed and take time to massage it, using the Tai Chi of gardening techniques.
• Planting – We will finish the bed by planting young starts into our freshly cultivated beds.
After dinner in the garden, we will go on an Ancestor Journey – This is an exercise to help you remember and connect with how your ancestors related to food.
Sunday – Food and Nutrition Focus
• Eating with the Seasons – The healing wisdom of eating what your foodshed, climate and season offer you.
• Body types and constitution – In Chinese and Ayurvedic healing systems, the elements of earth, water, fire, air, and ether are important in understanding each individuals health. These systems describe the constitution you were born with, each constitution tendencies when unhealthy, and foods that provoke ill health and create balance.
• Sauerkraut preparation – We will harvest ingredients from the garden and create together this ancient art of fermenting food, which greatly benefits the digestive system (the seat of your health) and preserves nutrients.
• Rejuvenative snacks – How to create treats that are healing tonics that taste great.