Overview Old Ways Herbal offers a personalized, hands-on apprenticeship program for students looking for an in-depth experience. The 6-month program takes place over the course of a growing season and involves all aspects of our herbal practice. It is not classroom-based; instead, we learn by doing, and in the process apprentices provide an essential service with the work of their hands.
As the season blooms and goes to seed we will discuss the medicinal uses of the plants around us from the perspectives of Traditional Western Herbalism and Medical Herbalism, informing our understanding with aspects of other philosophies including Ayurveda, Chinese Medicine, and the Wise Woman Tradition.
Apprentices work side by side with Juliette to learn skills related to medicinal plant propagation and cultivation, organic gardening and permaculture, ethical wildcrafting, medicine making, plant identification, formulation, clinical assessment skills, food as medicine, and more. Curriculum is tailored to the individual interests and needs of each year’s apprentices, to ensure that they get the most out of their experience.
Details The program runs April through October, 250 hours or more of herbal immersion. Apprentices are here 1 day per week (usually Monday), and additionally are expected to assist at workshops and complete a personal culmination project that reflects their unique interests in herbalism. Past culmination projects have included multi-year garden plans, a garden plot, clinical intakes, materia medica, and co-teaching workshops. There is the possibility of attending every other week without the work-trade component for the right candidate, but fewer hours are not available. There are additional opportunities that pop up throughout the season such as trips to conferences and events, which are optional but strongly recommended. Apprentices receive a certificate reflecting their completion of the program, their culmination project, and hours of study (estimated 250 hours).
There are several required tools for the program, which are necessary for harvesting, wild-crafting, and making herbal medicine. There are also recommended books to enhance the learning experience, but they are not required as each apprentice’s learning is tied to their own personal interests.
Because of the personal nature of the program, we only accept 1-3 apprentices per season. It is simply not possible to tailor the curriculum to more people than that; we have had a wide range of experience levels and it lessens everyone’s experience when the group is too large. We are looking for reliable people with a desire to learn who can make the time commitment and appreciate our philosophy of tending the land. Formal herbal education experience is not required, although preference is given to candidates who demonstrate a true desire to expand their herbal knowledge. It is important to note that this program is what you make of it.
For apprentices who are traveling from a distance to study, we offer a beautiful primitive campsite in our forest if you need a place to stay the night before your workday; this is especially helpful on workshop weekends, when you may be here three days in a row. We also offer students 20% discount on our Air BnB suite, and there are many other similar options in the area.
What are this year’s projects? Apprentices will help tend our new energetic herb garden (started last season), nurture our forest botanical sanctuary, and revitalize our cottage garden (medicinal spin on a traditional favorite), among other ongoing projects. We will make medicine from our forest, field, and gardens, and take wild-crafting adventures out into the world. We will do food-as-medicine projects, discuss clinical skills, energetics, formulation, permaculture…what are you interested in? 2015 was our first full year at our new farm, so this is an opportunity to be part of the process. If you’re interested in learning about starting woodland gardens, growing at-risk medicinals from seed in our botanical sanctuary, permaculture techniques for starting new perennial gardens, and things like that then this is a good program for you. We will still cover our usual material as listed above, and don’t worry—there will be plenty of opportunities for medicine-making and lots of take-home goodies. If you’d rather learn in well-established gardens, try back in a few years!
Applications, Deadlines, & Fees Applications are available below. An application deposit of $100 to hold your place is due with your completed application (applied to tuition if you are accepted). Applications will be reviewed and followed by a phone or in-person interview. Application deposits are fully refundable up to the application deadline. Your deposit will be refunded if you are not chosen for the apprenticeship. The remainder of the fee is due by the beginning of the program. Payment plans are available, additional work-trade is not, as the program is already heavily discounted for the work component.
The application deadline is March 15.
Traditional weekly program: Tuition $1900, price includes a work-trade component ($1800 owed after application deposit)
Biweekly program: Tuition $2700 ($2600 owed after application deposit), apprentices who attend every other week do so without work-trade discount.
If you have questions or want more information, email us. We love to hear from you.