Herbal Skills Immersion

Virtual Offerings for Climate Justice Activism

Come to any or all of these.

The Herbal Skills Immersion is an educational offering based in generosity and gratitude.

Plant medicine is the immediate response of nature to the trials of our times. As we navigate a devastating global pandemic and a need for major systemic change in the face of oppression and racism, Rose offers her medicine to mend our grieving hearts. Calendula blooms for months to share her nourishment and optimism with us when we are feeling troubled by external chaos. Dandelion sprouts up from the cracks in the sidewalk to support us in taking care of ourselves so that we may rise to action and contribute to a more loving world. Through such hardship, plants never cease to be our allies.

Through our appreciation of these wise beings, and our gratitude that we extend towards them, we are gifted with the medicine and immense healing that they share so generously with us.

Plant medicine is abundant and provides astounding gifts in these challenging times. In this virtual offering, we honor the plants who so graciously share their medicine with us. We empower you to embrace this medicine so that you may take charge of your own wellness and share your unique gifts with the world, taking inspiration from the way plants nourish us with their special gifts.

“I am a radiant being

Of light and healing

I feel peace, I am safe

I heal from a whole place.”

-Beautiful Chorus, “Hymn of Healing”

How our virtual offerings work:

After registering, you’ll receive a video workshop in which our Facilitators guide you in learning about the plants and the medicine-making process. You can watch the video on your own time, from the comfort of your home.

You may opt in to receive an Herbal Skills Materials Kit, which includes dried herbs from Metta Earth and the supplies you’ll need to make herbal remedies at home.

For each offering, after you’ve followed along with the video workshop, we’ll hold a Community Connect Call (Dates TBA) with the course participants (you!) and our Facilitators. We’ll connect as a community, debrief the medicine-making process, ask & answer questions, share stories about place & plants, and discuss Climate Justice and Activism. You will be able to join the call by computer video, or by telephone.

If you are interested in receiving an Herbal Skills Materials Kit, please register at least two weeks before the date of the Community Connect Call, or earlier if possible given recent delays in shipping services. This will allow time for the kit to arrive at your home, so you can complete the medicine-making tutorial before the Community Connect Call.

2020/21 Offerings

Dates TBA. All offerings will include a Community Connect Call with our Facilitators (via Zoom).

Detailed descriptions of each offering are listed further down this page.

Skin & Wound Care

Immune Support

Nutritive Herbs & Bitter Roots

Notify me when registration opens

Facilitators

Metta Earth Institute is honored to collaborate with the following facilitators for these virtual offerings. 

  • Gillian Kapteyn Comstock: Metta Earth Founder & Co-Director, Folk Herbalist, Herbal Remedy Maker, Sense of Place Guide
  • Katherine Elmer: Clinical/Community Herbalist, Co-Director of Spoonful Herbals and Railyard Apothecary
  • Carl BrokenHorse: Seneca/Haudenosaunee Medicine Keeper, Herbal Remedy Maker, Story Teller
  • Matt Cloyd: Producer, Videographer, Tech Support, Earth Responder
  • Juliana Lewis: Resident Apprentice Herbalist, Plant Medicine Harvester, Herbal Skills Materials Kit Creator, Earth Responder
  • Emma Radeka: Coordinator, Marketing/Social Media, Content Designer, Earth Responder

We are living in potent times, and our partnership with these facilitators is a sacred healing collaboration to engage our shared work in a time of climate emergency and social injustice.

Wellness Sovereignty

Wellness Sovereignty is the right to healthcare tools and resources that align with your values, budget, and location. For our partners at Spoonful Herbals, this looks like a community of individuals who know and trust the plant medicines in their backyards and natural areas, and have the skills to transform them into home remedies for themselves and their families in alignment with the principles of sustainability and the honorable harvest. Join us for any or all of these herbal immersion virtual offerings to explore and claim your Wellness Sovereignty intentions and develop concrete skills to harvest and prepare herbal medicines for yourself, your family and your community.

Common Virtual Offering Elements Include:

  • Attunement to align our bodies and spirits with the unique energetic rhythms of the seasons and the plant medicines being offered on the landscape
  • An Herbal Skills Materials Kit, which will be delivered to your doorstep once you register for a virtual offering, complete with all of the dried herbs and supplies that you will need to make your own herbal medicines (you may opt out of receiving this package if you have access to all necessary supplies). NOTE: Offerings have a limit of 20 Herbal Skills Materials Kits available.
  • An Herbal Skills video tutorial, which will be emailed to you once you register for a virtual offering. You will then have about two weeks to follow along with the medicine-making video on your own time, from the comfort of your own home.
  • Basic kitchen medicine-making skills to grow our wellness sovereignty and build capacity to lower our carbon footprint through responsible and systematic disconnection from reliance on pharmaceutical medicine
  • A live, interactive Community Connect Call via Zoom, to debrief the medicine-making process, ask questions, share stories about place & plants, and discuss Climate Justice and Activism, inspired by medicinal plant allies.

Herbal Skills Immersion — Skin & Wound Care

Community Connect Call: Date TBA

Plants have a humble yet powerful way of rooting us in place as well as grounding us in our bodies. Meet common backyard plant medicines and explore them through lenses of folk tradition, modern science, embodiment, and intuition. Engage with us as we weave sacred plant medicine deeper into the fabric of our bodies and communities in service to Climate Justice. Join Community Herbalists Katherine Elmer (Celtic/Nordic), Carl BrokenHorse (Haudenosaunee/Seneca), and Gillian Kapteyn Comstock (Celtic/Nordic) for an introduction to medicine making from different indigenous lineages and create a few tins of first aid salve and various herbal poultices in your own home using healing plants harvested from the Metta Earth land in community.

All Herbal Skills Immersion courses will feature a pre-ordered Herbal Skills Materials Kit, a virtual video to follow along with, and an interactive Community Connect Call via Zoom. NOTE: Limited quantity of Herbal Skills Materials Kits available per offering.

Herbal Skills Immersion — Immune Support

Community Connect Call: Date TBA

With the intensity of a global pandemic and rising environmental and social justice movements, our immune systems are vulnerable to many stressors. This workshop is an opportunity to lean into the pleasure activism* of nourishment in the form of interacting with plant medicine and prioritizing the wellness of ourselves and our loved ones. Medicine making skills in this offering will focus on key herbal strategies to prevent and relieve symptoms of common ailments including immune boosting remedies such as elderberry syrup and fire cider.

*Pleasure activism is a phrase and movement popularized by adrienne marie brown and the title of her new edited book published in 2019. Check it out, it’s amazing and life /movement-changing!

All Herbal Immersion courses will feature a pre-ordered Herbal Skills Materials Kit, a virtual video to follow along with, and an interactive Community Connect Call via Zoom. NOTE: Limited quantity of Herbal Skills Materials Kits available per offering.

Herbal Skills Immersion — Nutritive Herbs & Bitter Roots (Coming in 2021)

Community Connect Call: Date TBA

This offering focuses on consuming plants as nourishing food and medicine to deepen your relationship to the natural environment while nourishing yourself and preventing disease. We will also explore the benefits of bitter herbs to liberate the body’s intrinsic vitality and “spark”, unleashing and focusing our unique offerings as activists and earth lovers. Basic principles of therapeutic herbalism and whole food nutrition will be covered in the context of modern public health challenges and simple solutions from your land and kitchen. Together we will prepare nutritive tea blends, root broths, and deliciously root-y “Bliss Balls.”

All Herbal Skills Immersion courses will feature a pre-ordered Herbal Skills Materials Kit, a virtual video to follow along with, and an interactive Community Connect Call via Zoom. NOTE: Limited quantity of Herbal Skills Materials Kits available per offering.

Notify me when registration opens

FACILITATORS

Katherine Elmer

Katherine Elmer, MS grew up in the green hills of Central Vermont and revels in the opportunity to connect with clients around a shared love of place and nature through whole foods nutrition and herbal medicine. She is a clinically-trained community herbalist and lecturer on Herbal Medicine, Integrative Health and Food Systems topics at the University of Vermont.

She has a Master’s in Natural Resources from UVM and has completed professional training through the Vermont Center for Integrative Herbalism. Katherine manages medicinal plant gardens on UVM campus and is the faculty advisor for the UVM student Herbalism Club. She also teaches regular community classes and herb walks in the Burlington area.

Katherine is the co-founder of the Burlington Herb Clinic at the Railyard Apothecary as well as an educational organization called Spoonful Herbals, which offers a local Herbal CSA share program, a Community Herbalism Apprenticeship, “Backyard Apothecary” consultations to farmers and homesteaders, and medicinal plant gleaning events (“Herb Mobs”) on area organic farms and public green spaces.

She is a proud mom to a 9-year-old son Liam, a 10-year-old labradoodle Maatje (pronounced Mott-yeh), and she lives in Burlington’s Old North End.

Gillian Kapteyn Comstock

Gillian Kapteyn Comstock, MA, is the founding co-director of Metta Earth Institute and the Metta Earth project, which integrates regenerative farming, contemplative practices, community living, and sustainability education. Gillian offers mentoring, program facilitation, and leadership trainings.

As a holistic psychotherapist, certified permaculture designer, and advanced yoga guide, she synthesizes disciplines to support cultural renewal. She is dedicated to creating sanctuaries for others to experience vibrant presence.

With a passion for discovering the wild in mind, body, and earth, she has led yoga retreats, wilderness quests, and trainings in nature sanctuaries around the world.

For the last dozen years Gillian has intertwined this work with grounding in regenerative agriculture and focalizes this in the care of gardens and greenhouses, carbon farming and grazing processes with Icelandic sheep, Milking Shorthorn cows, and heritage breed chickens, as well as the growing and wildcrafting of herbal teas and medicines.

For more than two decades she has been a participant in the Assisi Institute community, which engages in a highly dynamic interdisciplinary investigation of Jungian psychology, creative process, mythology, and the new sciences.

A mother of three adult children and grandmother of five, Gillian has lived a life immersed in cooperative community, the gift economy, and innovative social processes resonate with natural systems and wild nature.

Emma Radeka

Emma Radeka is a senior at the University of Vermont, pursuing a B.S. in Environmental Studies, a minor in Latin American and Caribbean Studies, and a certificate in Integrative Healthcare. Her areas of academic study reflect her passion for healing the earth, ourselves, and our communities, with a focus on pleasure activism, gift economy, and ecological leadership.

During her two years of studying herbalism, Emma has interned with Spoonful Herbals, been a Teaching Assistant to Katherine Elmer’s UVM Plant-Based Healing Medicine course, and risen to a position of leadership within the UVM Herbalism Club.

Emma has eight years of education experience, including teaching dance classes, ski lessons, plant medicine workshops, and holding a Teaching Assistant role five times over during her college career. She is currently completing her capstone project in the Rubenstein School of the Environment and Natural Resources, which is focused on place-based education. As a TA for an intro-level natural resources course in which she facilitates outdoor labs, and an outdoor educator for an after-school program at Flynn Elementary School, she will compare the pedagogy of both programs and the quality of learning that occurs as a result of assessment and structure vs. active free play.

In the spring of 2019, Emma participated in an immersive 4-month study abroad program in rural Costa Rica that focused on permaculture, sustainable development, tropical ecology, and community organizing for environmental justice.

Emma lives in the Old North End of Burlington and is an avid salsa dancer and skier. Her post-grad dreams include hiking the Long Trail, attending the Vermont Center for Integrative Herbalism, becoming a midwife, and exploring regenerative agriculture and shamanism in South America.

Carl BrokenHorse

BrokenHorse is an author and historian; sacred activist and medicine keeper of European and Seneca/Haudenosaunee (Ho-den-o-son-ee) descent. He has been studying indigenous medicine for over 20 years.

Coming from a long line of peacemakers and great orators, BrokenHorse uses the written and spoken word and the power of indigenous tradition to decolonize, rematriate, and heal.

PROGRAM DETAILS

Metta Earth is offering the Herbal Skills Immersion using a “gift economy” model.

To put it simply: everyone is welcome to enroll and to request a materials kit, regardless of whether the suggested contribution is out of reach. Instead of making finances a barrier, we are trusting that the collective generosity of our community will help sustain our work and enable us to continue giving.

Suggested Contributions

Please attune to your capacity to give, and give only what is comfortable.
If you can contribute more, please know that you will help us gift herbal healing education and supplies to community members in a different financial situation.

Online course and supply kit: $80 ($40 for materials & shipping, $40 for course development)
Online course only: $40 (for course development)

Scholarships

If you would like a scholarship to support attending the Herbal Skills Immersion (or any Metta Earth program), you may apply for a grant through the Vermont Student Assistance Corporation (VSAC).

Metta Earth and Spoonful Herbals are approved organizations through VSAC.

Notify me when registration opens

“I have great faith in the power of herbal medicine to heal not only people, but also culture, species, and ecology. It’s really pretty simple: we need plants in our lives. Even only a little bit.
And once their green tendrils begin to grow in our hearts, like the first pea vines of spring, there is no turning back.
Thank goodness – thank greenness.”

– Guido Masé, Herbalist (co-founder of Railyard Apothecary and the Vermont Center for Integrative Herbalism; Herbalist and Senior Scientist at Traditional Medicinals)

METTA EARTH IS PLEASED TO PARTNER WITH:

Railyard Apothecary

Railyard Apothecary is Burlington’s local herbal apothecary. We are a non-profit organization with a primary goal to provide high-quality, affordable medicinal herbs and health education to the Burlington community and beyond. All of our herbs are from organic and/or sustainable sources, either from local farms and forests or from international organic distributors. By partnering with local farmers, wild-crafters, and educators, we hope to serve as a hub for the herbal community in Northern Vermont.

We are committed to creating a space for the community and ourselves where we can work towards healing cultural wounds. Through herbal justice, we strive to create a space where shifts in habits, systems, and thinking can move away from white supremacy, patriarchy, and wasteful consumerism and towards respect for people and the planet, inclusivity, and listening to historically silenced voices, with the goal of contributing to a world in which people are respected as individuals, and can thrive. Find us on Facebook or Instagram.

Spoonful Herbals

Spoonful Herbals is the collaborative effort of community herbalists and educators Katherine Elmer and Kara Buchanan.

Spoonful offers an annual Herbal CSA, which includes 3 seasonal herbal self-care packages, all for $150, with convenient share pickup at Railyard Apothecary:

  • each providing 4-5 varied formulas
  • detailed educational guidance about the plant ingredients and their users
  • educational events for members

Spoonful also runs a 6-month Community Herbalism Apprenticeship program where students learn how to identify, harvest, and create remedies from native and locally-grown medicinal herbs.

Spoonful’s Herb Mob program engages volunteers to bring locally harvested (gleaned) medicinal plants into our apothecary from local organic farms and green spaces. Find us on Facebook and Instagram.