Almost all people, of all nations, knew which plants were good for a burn, which ones would make a fine potherb and which could be stored for the dry or cold times. Today, many do not know the oak tree from the pine, yet that space that lives in each of us, yearning for connection and meaning still exists, perhaps in part due to our disconnect with each of our folkways, our own ancestral past of working with plants for food, medicine and ritual. There are many beautiful clinical herbal programs here in Western North Carolina who can help train you to learn clinical healing and medicine making skills, and we need these desperately, yet we endeavor to offer something different for those of us of the cottage and hearth.
Abby Artemisia of the WANDER School and Becky Beyer of the Blood and Spicebush School of Old Craft are excited to announce a new school for folk botanic practices: The Sassafras School of Appalachian Plantcraft. Two women foragers, medicine makers and craftswomen, have come together to offer a folk understanding of herbalism and foraging. We see the folkway as the way in which working with plants for food and medicine every day can become a natural ritual of life. It can become a lifeway.
Through creating regionally significant plant crafts like basketry and wooden utensils, as well as learning the folklore of plants for food and medicine, we’ll empower you to find food, craft potions and preserve your harvest for yourself and your community, using tools you’ve made with your own capable hands. Due to the oppressive forces at work in our world such as colonialism, capitalism and white supremacy, it may feel impossible to truly recreate what an intact ancestral understanding of folk plant knowledge would look like for each of us. Yet we can look to the bioregion we know as Southern Appalachia and its plant denizens for an abundance of accessible food, medicine and magic for the people who dwell here.
...Meet The Teachers...
Botanist, Herbalist, & Professional Forager, Abby Artemisia lives on the edge of Pisgah National Forest in the Appalachian Mountains of North Carolina. She learned about plants playing in the Midwestern woods of Ohio, working on organic farms, an herbal apprenticeship, a bachelor’s degree in Botany from Miami University, and running her own tea business.
She teaches about plant identification, native plants, and working with plants for food and medicine throughout the country. Her mission is to offer nature and herbal education, creating healing through connection with the natural world and each other, to create local and global health and prosperity. She’s the author of The Herbal Handbook for Homesteaders and the Forager’s Wild Edible & Herbal Plant Cards. Find out more at www.thewanderschool.com
Rebecca Beyer is the woman behind the Blood and Spicebush School of Old Craft. She comes from a farming background with a B.S. in Plant and Soil Science from the University of Vermont where she fell in love with growing food. She completed a Masters in Appalachian Studies and Sustainability, concentrating in Appalachian Ethnobotany at Appalachian State University in May 2018 and is passionate about Appalachia as a region, its history and all its inhabitants, past and present.
She spends her days trying to imagine what her ancestors did and finding ways to share traditional skills while tackling cultural appropriation through practicing and teaching those things which her ancestors would have done as a European ancestored person. She teaches fishnet weaving, spoon carving and green wood working, folkloric agriculture, Appalachian folk medicine, Appalachian folk magic, and European traditional witchcraft while managing a small farm in Barnardsville, NC at her home, The Hawk and Hawthorne, where she lives with 7 sweet friends.
Our School is 20 minutes from Asheville, North Carolina at:
We endeavor to be accessible to as many as possible and are keenly aware of the inequities and barriers many face in gaining an herbal education. This program requires walking and traversing rough terrain at times as we forage and seek out the plants we will meet and learn from. If you have any questions about the physical accessibility of this program please ask.
We are dedicated as people and as a school to facing oppression in all it's insidious forms, within ourselves and in our community. We are excited to hold space and make welcome queer, trans, POC, and all people who seek to learn herbs and wild foods. We are always available for conversation around these topics. Please do not hesitate to call or write us if you have any questions about our space, our school or our subjects or what we are doing to try and make a safer space for learning. We look forward to learning with you!