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Wild Edible & Medicinal Plants

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Sprouting pea plants

Planning Your Garden & Starting Seeds

It's that time of year! The snow may still be on the ground but the seed catalogues are in the mailbox and it's time to Plan Your Garden!
But what should you order? From where? Who are the reputable seed sellers? Can you be sure of getting seeds and plants that are non-GMO? How do you know what to plant (and how much) in order to feed yourself and your family for the season?
In this afternoon session we will discuss your gardening goals for the year and help you to plan your garden to match your goals, whether it is to supplement favorite foods in season, to provide all your fresh greens and veg for the summer, or to feed you and your family through the rest of the year, you will learn how to plan and order and plant your garden to get the best bang for your buck. You will also learn how and when to get your seeds started, what seeds to start in advance and which can be direct planted. It's time to get ready and rolling and set for the Summer season! (9am - 12pm)


March 7 $35 Great Meadows, NJ   Date Passed


Tree sap

NEW! Tapping Trees & Making Syrup

While most people think only of tapping Sugar Maple trees, there are MANY different types of trees that can be tapped, both for drinking sap and for making delicious syrup. Join us for this afternoon workshop where you will learn the in's-and-out's of tree tapping. You'll learn the best trees to tap, how, where and when to tap trees using both modern and traditional methods, and you'll get hands-on experience tapping a tree yourself.
Then, you'll see how to turn that sap into your own delicious syrup right in your own kitchen. You don't need big cauldrons or all-day fires; just a good pot, a stove and some patience! We'll also discuss turning syrup into taffy and into sugar, and wh/8

*ere to get the tools and materials you'll need to take up this delicious early-Spring form of foraging! (2 - 5 pm)

March 7 $35 Great Meadows, NJ   Date Passed



››NEW! Wild Guerrilla Gardening: Real Food Security for a Post-Abundant World

Lambs Quarters

Traditional guerrilla gardening is creating and planting an actual garden on land that does not belong to the gardener, often in urban areas as a type of protest against neglected, abandoned, misused or run-down properties. Guerrilla gardeners come in and plant flowers and food crops on a property owned by someone else, turning an eyesore into a place of both beauty and nourishment. Our version of Guerrilla Gardening is a little different! Nature provides an abundance of food all around us if we know where to look, and know what we're looking at. Wild Guerrilla Gardening takes advantage of the many high-yield, high-nutrition, low-to-no-maintenance foods that are already growing in urban, suburban and rural areas, of which the majority of people are not even aware.
Nature has created a sustainable food resource that is no longer even recognized as food by most other people. It is this food reserve that is available to you season after season, year after year, and is hidden in plain sight!

This workshop will take place in accordance with appropriate Social Distancing guidlines.

May 10 $95 Great Meadows, NJ
$47 Deposit
Pay in Full


Workshops Below Are Not on the Current Schedule — Keep Checking Back to See When They Are Offered!


Spring Violet

Spring Foraging: Wild Edible Plants of Spring

The Spring Green-up is one of the most exciting times of the year! Leaves are back on the trees, new bits of green are coming out of the ground everywhere, flowers are popping out in the grass and along the roadsides. After a long, cold, wet and snowy Winter, those first green shoots are cause for celebration!
But did you know they are also a great way to add clean, organic and healthy foods to your diet for FREE?
All around you are growing delicious, nutritious and absolutely FREE wild foods; leaves greens and flowers that will add sweetness and spice to your every meal. Whether it's adding ramps to your morning eggs, violets to your lunchtime salad, nettles to your evening stir fry, or sorrel to your desert tarts, tasty food is everywhere, when you know what you're looking at.
Come spend the day learning just how easy it is to find and identify the earliest flowers of the year, as well as those tiny, flowerless bits of green that come with the opening weeks of spring. You'll also discover the many myths surrounding wild plants, that there are easy ways to tell every plant apart, and that no two plants in the wild look any more alike that those you find in the grocery store. Wild plants are delicious and nutritious, and a great way to increase your health and cut your grocery bill -- Join us!

›› This workshop is not currently on the schedule, but we'll let you know the next time it's offered.‹‹


Mullein Rosette

Medicinal Plants: Discovering Nature's Pharmacy

Mosquito bites, headaches, poison ivy, cuts & scrapes, upset stomaches, sore muscles, fevers, earaches, bee stings, colds, flus and sore throats... remedies for all of these problems and many more can be found in the common plants growing just outside your front door!
Many plants, including several in your spice rack, contain medicines — some mild and easy, some potent and powerful — that can be used out in the woods or as a part of your regular first aid kit at home. Many of the drugs you buy at the pharmacy have their roots (no pun intended) in the medicinal properties of common "weeds".
In this workshop you will learn, how to easily discern key medicinal properties of common plants, how those properties affect the body, and how to best use them to take care of "what ails ya".
Plant medicine is not "magic", nor is it necessarily less effective than what you will pay for at a pharmacy. Once you understand how to find and extract the medicinal properties from a plant you will see just how useful Nature's own pharmacy can be. A great day filled with extremely valuable information for anyone who wants to add safe, effective and proven plant remedies to their own medicinal repertoire.
(For more advanced preparation techniques, salves, tinctures etc., please check out our Medicinal Plant Preparations workshop.)

Skill of the Month:  Our September '08 newsletter profile d one of the easiest (and tastiest) natural cold remedies around. Pine Needle Tea is super-high in vitamin C and the expectorant and decongestant qualities can be very helpful when fighting a cough and cold. See these step-by-step instructions to try it for yourself.

›› This workshop is not currently on the schedule, but we'll let you know the next time it's offered.‹‹



Front Yard Foraging

Summer Foraging: Wild Edible Plants of Summer

Forget about spending your hard-earned dollars spraying poison on your lawn, then spending even more on expensive organic greens at the grocery store. Instead, learn about the many delicious, healthy and nutritionally-packed wild edible plants that are yours for the picking all summer long!
This workshop will focus on common, abundant and easily identifiable edible plants that grow pretty much everywhere. You will learn how to identify and harvest these tasty edibles, as well as several different ways to prepare each one. Some (such as dandelions) you may already recognize, but not realize that these "unsightly weeds" actually have more nutritional content that anything you can pay top dollar for in at Organic Foods market!
A fun, educational and delicious day, this is a great way to begin learning what our Grandparents all knew — the best food can often be found in your own front yard!

Student Comments:  Read what past students of this workshop have to say

›› This workshop is not currently on the schedule, but we'll let you know the next time it's offered.‹‹


Fall Forest

Woodland Foraging: Wild Edible Plants of Autumn

The wild bounty of the summer has faded and with the days getting shorter and the nip of Autumn in the night air, Fall's harvest is beginning to come into it's own. This is the time of year when the Woodland shares her wares and the nuts and roots and tubers and seeds are kings of the fall foraging outing.
We will spend the day out and about in the woods and fields, finding and identifying the wild edibles (and some of the more handy utilitarian plants) available during this abundant season. Then we will head back to the house to prepare and taste the delicious treats we have gathered — come join us, and be sure to bring your appetite!


›› This workshop is not currently on the schedule, but we'll let you know the next time it's offered.‹‹



Plant Walk Wild Plant Walk

Join us for our late Summer Wild Plant Walk around Practical Primitive to see and talk about the wild edible, medicinal & utilitarian plants that are currently ready to harvest! There is so much delicious, nutritious, helpful food everywhere around us that we walk past every day. Much of it better for us than what we can find in the stores or the pharmacy, and all of it FREE! Knowing what is available to you is as simple as learning how to recognize the right plants, which isn't nearly as difficult as you think. Many of them are growing in your garden, and you are pulling out these delicious, nutritious and safe wild foods & medicines as weeds!
This late-Summer Wild Plant Walk will help you begin to discover the amazing Kingdom of the Plants that lives around and among ours, and how the Plant People are there to help us as much as we can help them.

›› This workshop is not currently on the schedule, but we'll let you know the next time it's offered.‹‹


››NEW! Growing Your Own Mushrooms at Home

Mushroom Log

Shitake, Oyster, Reishi.. these are just a few of the kinds of edible and medicinal mushrooms that you can grow easily at home, for a tiny fraction you would pay to buy them in the store! While mushroom logs take months or even a year to begin to produce, they are definitely worth it. They produce delicious fruit FAR superior to anything that can befound in the grocery store, over and over, for years to come. During this workshop you will learn how to innoculate mushroom logs with various kinds of spawn, including using both sawdust totems and prepared plug logs. You will learn the importance of choosing the correct wood for the type of mushroom you wish to grow, which mushrooms can be grown in other mediums like sawdust, straw or coffee grounds, where to keep your mushrooms, how to care for them, what to do with your logs in during the cold weather months, how to know when they are ready to begin producing, how to "force fruit" your logs, how to preserve the various different types, and much more. This will be a hands-on workshop where you will innoculate new mushroom logs. So many delicous and varied edible and medicinal mushrooms can be grown in your backyard, your balcony, even on your kitchen counter. Joins us for this afternoon to find out all about Growning Your Own Mushrooms at Home!
(2:00 - 5:00 p.m.)

›› This workshop is not currently on the schedule, but we'll let you know the next time it's offered.‹‹


››NEW! Building a Keyhole Garden: The ULTIMATE Raised Bed!

Keyhole Garden

Almost unknown in North America, Keyhole Gardens were developed in Africa as a low-water, low-work, high-yeild solution to growing food. They have been growing in popularity in Texas and the Southwest, and it's time to bring them into the Northeast! Keyhole Gardens are make their own soil from the compostable materials used to build them, and the water/compost hole in the center ring ensures that your garden stays healthy all season long.
Our Keyhole Garden has been going for four seasons now, and pound for pound, produces FAR more vegetables and greens and bulbs and flowers than ANY other type of garden we've tried. And we've tried a lot! Easy to build and simple to maintain, Keyhole Gardens require much less water than a traditional garden and their intensive growing style means you get a LOT of food in a small space with very little work. And who doesn't like that? This is the ONLY type of garden we build now, and we know you'll love it too!
During this one day workshop you will participate in building and planting a complete Keyhole Garden. We'll also discuss other types of Raised Beds, their pros and cons, as well as other styles of gardens, including containers. You'll get plenty of hands-on experience so that you can build your own gardens in your own backyard when you get home!

›› This workshop is not currently on the schedule, but we'll let you know the next time it's offered.‹‹



Primitive Style & Outdoor Cooking

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Coal-cooked feast

Groceries Gone Wild: Primitive Cooking with Coals, Fire & Ash

Where did we get the idea that primitive cooking is all about bug soup and grasshopper-kabobs? Come join us for a proper primitive feast, and discover how delicious and easy it can be to bake, broil, roast and rotisserie over (and on) an open fire, right in your own backyard!
Learn how to build the most effective fire structures for creating the perfect bed of coals and/or ashes, and get hands-on experience as we prepare foods for breakfast, lunch dinner & desert. You'll learn how to make everything from cinnamon rolls to baked eggs, from coal-roasted meats and vegetables to spit-cooked fish, from baked breads to our favorite "spinning chicken", as well as chocolate eclairs and peach cobbler for desert.
Come join us for one of our favorite (and most delicious!) workshops, and learn to take everyday foods from the grocery store and turn them into primitively mouth-watering meals for any occasion. This is a real food experience, and the hands-on knowledge you take home will make you the hit of your next family camping trip or backyard Bar-B-Q!!


Skill of the Month:  One of our favorite campfire treats is Ash Cakes, and we shared the recipe and step-by-step instructions as our December '07 Skill of the Month. We hope you'll enjoy them too!

›› This workshop is not currently on the schedule, but we'll let you know the next time it's offered.‹‹


Dakota Hole

Using a Dakota Hole: Fire, Cooking & Stealth

One of the most versitile and useful methods of primitive cooking, the Dakota Hole is a great way to boil water, cook soups and stews, and many other foods. However if not dug correctly the fire won't draft properly, won't stay lit, and it will be nothing more than one more hole in the ground. You'll learn all the secrets of digging and cooking in a Dakota Hole, and get to sample some of the delicious food that can be made in it!
(Evening Workshop 7:00 - 9:30 p.m.)

›› This workshop is not currently on the schedule, but we'll let you know the next time it's offered.‹‹


Clay pot cooking

››NEW! Survival Cooking: Feeding Yourself off the Landscape

We all know that food tastes better when it's cooked over an open fire, but what if you have to find that food yourself? In a Survival situation you not only have to find your food, but also find or fabricate the tools and utensils to cook and eat it. Where do you begin?
This workshop will teach you all the basics of feeding yourself off the landscape, from easy-to-find food that actually tastes good, to preparing multiple dishes over the campfire, to the amazing benefits of cooking with a dakota hole. You will make your own tongs, chopsticks, and ladle, discover the secrets of efficient rock boiling, learn how to clay bake to perfection and the joys of cooking all sorts of foods "on a stick".
From rocks to clay to billy cans, this will be a full day of cooking and eating and learning how you can realistically and simply feed yourself from your surrounding environment. Whether you are in a Survival situation or just don't feel like adding all that extra weight to your backpack, Survival Cooking is an art to be learned, practiced and enjoyed.

›› This workshop is not currently on the schedule, but we'll let you know the next time it's offered.‹‹


Chuckwagon cooking setup


Campground Cooking: Dutch Ovens, Skillets, Griddles & More

If coals, ashes, clay and rocks are not your thing, perhaps this more traditional approach to camp cooking is what you're looking for. In this workshop we will use traditional "Chuckwagon" cooking implements like dutch ovens, skillets, fire-top griddles and more to prepare everything from breakfast specialties to soups, sandwiches and steaks, all the way through to cakes and cobblers for desert.

Learn the subtleties involved in using these "old favorites" of the campout experience that will take your outdoor cooking to a fine art. Nothing ever tastes as good as food prepared on and enjoyed around a camp fire. So join us for a relaxing day of fun, food and frivolity... and be sure to bring your appetite!



›› This workshop is not currently on the schedule, but we'll let you know the next time it's offered.‹‹


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