Wild Things: A Year of Wild Food & Medicine (Year 1)

The Wild Things Course is an eight month exploration of British wild food and medicine growing in a variety of habitats through the seasons.

It includes opportunities to gain confidence in low impact foraging, beginners botany and ecology, and to develop a sensory approach to using wild plants both as food and medicine.

The Course uses participatory learning methods & an action learning approach. Its learning outcomes for participants are to:

    • Develop an understanding of the ethics and practice of ecological harvesting and gain a confidence in low impact foraging
    • Try out recipes and learn practical remedy making skills for home use
    • Learn about the edible and medicinal properties of some of our common British
      plants and when to harvest them
    • Develop a sensory approach to herbal medicine
    • Beginners botany and ecology and the ability to confidently identify common
      species
    • Gain an understanding of how to live more harmoniously with the seasons

There are two options for the course:  it can be attended in person fortnightly in Edinburgh or Glasgow
between March & October, or carried out at your own pace from home through our online
platform on Coursecraft.

Option 1: Attended

The attended course will run over eight months from March to October, with one three
hour classroom session, and one two hour herb walk per month. This year there will be one class in Edinburgh & one in Glasgow.

Price: £300-£700

We have 4 low income spaces available at £300-£450 – (January 2021- all low income spaces are allocated now)

. The rest of our places are available at £475-£700.

To book onto the Attended Course, please read the following information and fill out and return the Booking Form below to us 

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Option 2: Online

This course consists of 15 fortnightly sessions spanning from March to October to cover a range of seasons. It is delivered through our online course platform Coursecraft. Each fortnight we will release a new session which will alternate between ‘indoor’ theoretical content mixed with practical remedy making skills & sensory herbal tea tastings, and ‘outdoor’ virtual plant walks exploring the common and abundant plants of that season. In total there are 8 ‘indoor’ sessions and 7 ‘outdoor’ sessions.

Each session comes with a guided sensory tea tasting – we will post 15 ‘mystery herbs’ out to you at the start of the course to explore with us over the 8 months. The course handbook covers 40 common plant species, and beyond this we will meet many others on our virtual walks.

Price: £220 – £550

with 4 pricing options:  £220 (limited places available), £350, £450, £550

Both courses are offered on a sliding scale basis to make it accessible to people on a variety of incomes & situations. We ask that participants pay what they can afford. We won’t ask for proof of income, but trust you to select what you feel is most appropriate for you and help us to continue our community work in under serviced areas of Edinburgh.

The higher course rates help to enable us to carry out our core work providing low cost herbalism to people on low incomes. If you would like to discuss this, please contact us.

To Book Onto the Online Course, Read the following information & then Follow This Link to Our Coursecraft Page 

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Testimonials from the 2020 (Online) Course:

“The course is made with so much love, detail, enthusiasm, and sensitivity. It really helped me to get through this quite difficult year. The detailed description of the botany of the herbs, the introduction into different preparation and preservation techniques, the sensory approach, the very informative video walks, and the wonderful meditative mystery herb tastings were wonderfully thoughtful put together and really opened up a comprehensive and holistic approach to wild food and medicine. I’m thankful I stumbled across this course and I very much hope to get to visit the Grass Roots Remedies Co-operative in person next year”

“The online Wild Things course gave a thorough and fascinating introduction to folk medicine. I loved the emphasis on getting to know local plants throughout the seasons, learning how to recognise our own personal response to each plant, and always respecting the role each plant plays within the ecosystem. Each lesson gave an inspiring introduction to a topic and then suggestions of how to delve deeper to follow individual interests.”

“In the year of ‘lockdown’ and disease this course has been liberating and life-giving. Knowledges from my grandmothers rekindled in herb walks and warm, gentle talks, in practical teaching and the unfolding of an ever deepening knowledge of plants around me. Everything presented clearly and with a bubble of soft laughter.  I’ve long loved plants, and have been an allotment holder for over 20 years but this course – with its deep commitment to social and environmental ethics – has brought fabulous new dimensions alive. My work is often trying. Engaging with refugee justice and struggling against the hostile environment. Here were women and a community of herbalists making a healing environment. An antidote to ills of many kinds, an opening up of new worlds in the micro, local strips of forgotten land. My home is now full of lotions, potions, tinctures, vinegars, teas and elixirs, my hands soft with oils and balms and salves. Just months and months of joy. Thank you.”
Alison Phipps, UNESCO Chair for Refugee Integration through Languages and the Arts, University of Glasgow.
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“I thoroughly enjoyed ‘Wild Things’ and would recommend the course to anyone interested in nature. I have become someone who excitedly calls out the names of plants I recognise when on a walk. As well as plant identification there are sessions on sustainable foraging, preparing and using herbs. The course is a lovely remedy to the stress of living during a pandemic.”

Testimonials from the 2019 Course:

“I am just so pleased I was brave & enrolled in the course when I did. It exceeded everything I anticipated & to be studying alongside such lovely people made it a nice & relaxed atmosphere, ideal for learning at our own pace. One of the best things I’ve done!”

“A brilliantly taught course creating a really welcoming environment that feels grounding & restorative; discovering & sharing a wealth of knowledge that helps you feel at home in our local ecology.”

“A really nourishing holistic approach. Each sessions is as nourishing as the herbs we are learning about. It’s so important to learn how to heal ourselves, learn & create communities. This course does all that.”

I loved learning about herbs throughout the year, and particularly enjoyed noticing seasonal change during the course. Each session was delivered with an enjoyable mixture of botanical science, folklore and practical activities. There was a good balance of the local and the global, and each session left me wanting to explore more. The facilitators shared their knowledge and experience expertly – making it accessible and understandable, but always able to answer more in-depth questions. I would highly recommend this course.”

Testimonials from the 2018 Course:

“What a wonderful, interesting and practically-oriented course! I enjoyed every bit of it and Ally and Soraya did an amazing job in giving a sensory approach to herbal medicine.”

“Both Ally and Soraya were fantastic at leading us through our introduction to herbalism. They encouraged us and ignited interest and passion for the wonderful world of plants, herbs and the magical properties that they contain. Now, I am often exhausted by travelling through nature as (even more so than previously) I want to stop and examine every growing thing and wonder what family it belongs to, what properties it has, the medicine it can provide for us and the connection it provides us to our ancestors of the past.”

“Thank you so much for providing me with this opportunity to learn about
native herbs and plants in a wonderful setting with great people. It
was informative, inspiring and just overall great vibes.”

“Wild Things should be mandatory to everyone in the country. It’s honestly that good. Ally and Soraya care so much about what they do. Their classes are both inspiring and rewarding, starting at the bottom and connecting the dots that so many people miss.”

“One of the best courses I’ve ever taken – I took the course on impulse because it sounded interesting, but it’s definitely made an impact on my life. I’d recommend it to anyone who is toying with the idea of signing up.”

Testimonials from the 2017 Course:

“Ally and Soraya share their wisdom and knowledge in a way that is so accessible, caring and joyful. Their passion and curiosity for herbalism and ecology is contagious and inspiring. I would highly recommend this course for anyone who wants to begin gaining a deeper insight into our natural surroundings and learn how we can interact with plants and feel nourished by them, in a way that is respectful and symbiotic”

“Great amount of knowledge and inspiration used in this course. It motivates one to go on and find out more about wild herbs and plants which is a huge subject. Great for people working with others and to help friends and family. Self help is always an empowering and great feeling.”

“Soraya and Ally are such committed excellent teachers, they make learning about herbs fascinating, exciting and inspiring. The course is packed with interest, hands on, tastings, a fabulous Drop Box resource to keep, and you will be delighted you booked on”

“This course has changed my outlook on life! I definitely stop to ‘smell the roses’ much more and appreciate the wonders of nature. Ally and Soraya are wonderful teachers – conveying their knowledge, skills and passion so well in each session”

“Excellent course for bringing on confidence with identifying and using wild plants in a practical way. Its inspired me to continue researching, reading, foraging and making. Loved it. Thank you”

“A very informative course with no prior knowledge required. Delightfully presented by very knowledgeable women who have very practical experience: this is a must for anyone interested in learning about healthy ways of living and being”

 Testimonials from the 2016 Course:

“As a ‘graduate’ of last years “Year of Wild Food and Medicine” I would just like to sing Ally and Soraya’s praises. Their enthusiasm for the subject , sharing and knowledgeable nature and joyous delivery made this course the most enjoyable I have ever taken. The content was a perfect mix of practical, experiential and theoretical learning which inspired my wanderings and forages from month to month and now I have cleared a room to make space for a beautiful display of my oils, decoctions, syrup, vinegars and tinctures. I’m loving being able to prepare remedies from native plants to share with friends”

“More than exceeded expectations – enjoyable, stimulating & informative, imparted in an informal style with humour”

“Having studied a ‘Year of Wild Medicine’ with Grassroots Remedies last year, I would highly recommend the course. Though I was a beginner to the subject, it gave me a comprehensive understanding to gather and use plants appropriately. Ally and Soraya created a safe and supportive learning environment that was both empowering and fun. They each have a great depth of knowledge but conveyed this in a way that was accessible to the group. Using a variety of facilitation techniques kept the sessions stimulating and fresh. There was an excellent balance between theory and practical sessions and the herbal walks were valuable as we were able to identify plants in their own habitat and to learn about how to gather ethically and carefully. Personally I gained a lot of confidence from the course and I regularly forage and use the ideas and recipes we were given to make teas, balms, tinctures etc. I am also able to refer to the detailed information sheets we were given to understand the science of the qualities and effects of the plants”

“I thoroughly enjoyed last year’s  foraging course, and looked forward to it every month. It was never an effort to go. For me, as an enthusiastic amateur, it was a great mix of practical and theoretical, with enough botany put in to satisfy would be academics. The design and balance of the course was just great, making it fun, interesting, inspiring and productive, and the course leaders'(Ally and Soraya) relaxed and humorous style made it such a joy for everyone. After the finish, there was a definite lack in my life and I look forward to putting my learning into practice again this year.”