Mar 112018


Classes for Herbalists, Healers, & Culture Shifters – at the upcoming 2018 Good Medicine Confluence 

For the first many years of Plant Healer’s annual international gatherings, our characteristically beautiful rural event sites had too few buildings of us to expand the number of classes to accommodate topics beyond essential foundational folk herbalism.  Fortunately, since moving our Good Medicine Confluence to its new mountain-top site in Durango, Colorado, we have been able to procure sufficient spaces to expand our topics to include additional modalities, and means for a wildly healthy and deeply meaningful life. In May, 2018, we will be presenting 5 days and nights of classes and entertainment for the same prices as most conferences charge for only 3: over 70 inspiring teachers presenting over 140 unique classes that have never been taught anywhere before, exploring the depths and frontiers of empowered healing in all its many forms from botanical medicine to healthy foods, nature therapy, cannabis and entheogens, and the radical remaking of the current cultural paradigm! 

––––––––––––––––––––––––––– Good Medicine Confluence Website:–––––––––––––––––––––––––––

Kiva and I have strong feelings when it comes to gathering foods and medicines, as opposed to cultivation.  One one hand, we are concerned about the threat that overharvesting that can threaten precious populations of herbs and vittles.  On the other hand, we believe that prolific “weedy” species can often be the most powerful of medicines, and that we are better herbalists when we know how to identify, gather, cook, and make our own remedies from wild or feral plants.

Contradictions vanish whenever you do as our Confluence presenters teach: developing a deep intimacy with the plants and their natural habitats, whether wilderness or abandoned city lots – so deep that it inspires awareness of the plants needs as well as what they can give to us, so that we are sensitive to when our interaction contribute to their scarcity or their glad proliferation.

Our thanks go out to ex-Ginseng poacher turned protector, Laurie Quesinberry, much loved local Durango wildcrafter Katrina Blair, Sarah Baldwin, Briana Wiles, Jade Alicandro Mace, and Sean Croke, for bringing us such informative and touch classes this coming May.


The Wild Wisdom of Weeds

with Katrina Blair (1.5 hrs)

Welcome to the wild wisdom of weeds. I am honored to introduce you to some wonderful wild plants that contribute towards the regeneration of planet earth while at the same time support the optimal health for humanity.  These wild plants grow abundantly, are easy to find and often considered as weeds to society. A few of my marvelous green friends include: Mallow, Purslane, Plantain, Amaranth, Lambs Quarters, Dandelion, Thistle, Curly Dock, Clover, grass, Knotweed, Chickweed and Mustard.

These special plants are found not only in and around Durango, Colorado but they are also found everywhere on the globe next to human civilizations. They follow our footsteps impeccably.  As humans we create the perfect niche for them to grow well due to our expert skills of disturbing of land and compacting soils and they provide us with free food and medicine wherever we go.  Nature has evolved these wild plants to be in a symbiotic relationship with humans. Whether we are based at home or find ourselves traveling, these wild plants can help each of us maintain a state of optimal health with minimal cost and effort.   Each one represents a sustainable food source as well as an extensive medical pharmacy and first aid kit. These plants are our guides to connect more deeply with our sense of place. They are adapted perfectly to our local climate, altitude and terrain.  When we ingest them, their wisdom and integrity become a part of us on a core level.  They teach us how to maintain vitality, build interconnectivity and adapt to change.   Integrating these wild plants into our daily practice provides a path of simple abundant living that can leads to a feeling of deep trust and a sense of belonging. As we utilize them, they continue to give back in countless ways to the health of our bodies and integrity of our home on earth.

While at the same time they are supporting our personal optimal health, they also are providing nectar and pollen for the honey bees and wild pollinators and helping regenerate disturbed and stressed lands. With their deep taproots, they aerate and break up compact soil, which increases earthworms and other microorganism activity underground.  Their leaves compost each year, which builds topsoil and ultimately increases the fertility of the land. By simply appreciating what is growing under our feet, we have access to improving the quality of life for all beings on a local and global level. These wild edible and medicinal plants have the potential to not only support our survival amidst rapid global changes occurring in our natural environment, but to even help us thrive in this unique modern time. Join us in the movement helping our local cities and towns transition into organic land stewardship and reduce the synthetic chemicals and herbicides used on public spaces. Together let’s celebrate these plant heroes of our time and support greater quality of life for all beings here on earth.


Wild Foods For Wild People

with Sarah Baldwin (1.5 hrs)

You are what you eat. We’ve all heard the old adage, but this is one saying that is true in the literal sense. The food we consume becomes the very molecules of our being. So, which would you rather be — domesticated or wild? Wild foods have a special, vibrant energy straight from the heart of Mother Nature that is imparted to us when we consume them. Eating wild foods makes for wild folks — it is a way to reconnect with our primal roots while also maintaining vibrant health. By eating the strongest, most resilient and abundant plants, we become stronger, more resilient, and more abundant ourselves.

Following the wise woman tradition of herbalism, incorporating medicinal weeds into our food is part of a healthy lifestyle, and it helps us get out of the paradigm of simply using plants like drugs to address symptoms. Wild plants are chock full of nutrients, vitamins, and minerals so that we can nourish ourselves using whole foods. Why take countless supplements when we can get optimal nutrition from foods found abundantly in nature? Wild edibles support our health from the ground up and are a great way to side-step conventional food and monetary systems while connecting with nature at the same time. Come and learn about a variety of wild and weedy edibles that also have medicinal and nutritive properties, as well as some yummy recipes and ideas for how to enjoy them.


Wild Foods & Medicines of The Mountains – Culinary & Healing Delights

with Briana Wiles (1.5 hrs)

In this hands on lab we will take the aromatics from nature and turn them into delicious concoctions for medicine making or cooking. Learn ways to prepare alcohols, honeys, vinegars, oils, and more with wild plants from the Rocky Mountains. You may think its always medicine making we herbalists are after when going out for plants, but a large majority of us have started to incorporate wild foods and herbs into our diets. Not only do we have cupboard–or room– apothecaries anymore, now we’ve moved onto chest freezers and pantries. This exploratory class will have fresh plants to chop up, tasty samples, and maybe a jar of something you made in class. Learn to blend the flavors of the wild into an array of things from cocktails, salad dressings, spice blends, tea blends, rubs, marinades, tinctures, oxymels and so much more, the mind could be as creative as ever. We will talk about fresh plants, dried plants, seeds, roots, flowers, and fruits to infuse, garnish and create a vibrantly wild culinary or medicinal delight.


Local Medicine & Community Resilience: Developing a Bioregional Materia Medica

with Jade Alicandro Mace (1.5 hrs)

Many of us are familiar with the local food movement, but what about the local medicine movement? Bioregional Herbalism provides us with the framework to develop a system of healthcare that is place-placed, ecologically sound, and can operate independently from the profit-driven system of allopathic medicine in this country. For any individual who understands the importance of living with a light ecological footprint on the earth at this time, bioregional herbalism offers an opportunity to align one’s values with their healthcare choices- and it doesn’t have to be complicated! This class will guide participants through the process of choosing bioregional plant allies to incorporate into their herbal practice to create a versatile and flexible home apothecary.  We’ll consider herbal actions, over-lapping uses, sustainability/availability of the plant, and the needs of participants’ particular practices and/or communities.  This class will bust the myth of “more is better” when it comes to the number of plants in your apothecary, and instead focus on honing-in on a few dozen herbal allies one can work with and understand clinically on an intimate level.  We’ll take the time to cover the medicinal use and sustainable harvest methods for plants that tend to be abundant throughout most bioregions in the U.S., and examples and stories from Jade’s clinical practice and experiences with her close herbal allies will be shared. We will also explore the intersection of practical uses and the deeper spiritual-emotional benefits of connecting deeply and directly with the medicinal landscape of our homes as well!


Moving Towards Mutually Beneficial Wildcrafting

with Sean Croke (2 hrs)

Learning from the wild plants is a beautiful activity for the human animal to undertake, it helps to male us wiser and moves us forward in our healing path. A simple way that is easily accessible to people who wish to do that is to learn the art of wildcrafting medicinal plants that live within their bioregion. While this is a wonderful skill for people to learn, we are unfortunately living in a time of great environmental devastation in which the wild places are knowing great pressures by the human inhabitants of this planet to extract materials from them as resources. It is rightfully concerning to many elder and young herbalists that the wild plants may follow in this trend and be eaten up by the gaping maw of global capitalism, perhaps by the very humans who love them so much, the herbalists.

Let’s face it, plants are the elders of humans and they probably created us for their own reasons. Humans are nice because we have movable bodies, legs and thumbs, so we can be very helpful to our plants elders (or we can be really harmful but let’s shoot for the former). How can we learn to tend the wild plants? It is well known that a vast system of plant tending has been and continues to be underway by the indigenous peoples of this continent for as far back as there are records. Simple techniques of propagation such as root division, air layering, the taking of cuttings, transplanting and seed collecting are easy for the average human to learn and to put to use in helping the wild plant to be taken care of.

Can we help the plants to move to new places before global warming changes their native homes to the point that they can no longer live there? Let us hope so. It is my goal that rather than seeing hundreds of pictures on social media of budding herbalists digging up roots to make a tincture which will sit on their shelf for years we will start to see pictures of budding herbalists taking cuttings from plant stands that do not hurt the existing stand and using that material to create a new and viable stand somewhere else, perhaps without ever harvesting the medicine or at least doing these things in conjunction.

This class will cover some philosophy and history around tending the wild gardens, as well as a goodly amount of practical demonstration of propagation techniques. There will be some walking around outside so please do be prepared for that.


From Poacher to Steward: A Digger’s Journey With The Plants

with Laurie Quesinberry (1.5 hrs)

For as long as anyone can remember, the plants in the Appalachian Mountains have been a key part of Laurie Quesinberry’s family income. Laurie saw the plants as a way to put food on the table and heat in the house, never knowing why people wanted them or the medicinal attributes.  Once a tribe of poachers, she and her family would sneak around digging the forest’s provisions. A chance encounter with an herbal student changed her perspective.

Living in a place where the plants grow abundantly, Laurie was shocked to find out her way of making a living involved taking the life of plants that were almost extinct in many other parts of the world.  She was faced with a moral choice and decided to take a leap onto an unknown, difficult road.  Laurie transitioned to mountain steward and forest farmer with her new friends in the plant world. Offering value-added products and collaborating hand-in-hand with the herbal community has opened doors to a more sustainable path for both the plants and her family.

Laurie opens her life and heart for the first time to share her story of what happens when the world of herbalism collides with commercial wild harvesting.


For all 140 class descriptions and 70 teacher bios – or to purchase Advance Discount Tickets – click on:

Good Medicine Confluence Website:


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