Learn Wild Plants One Day a Month


Community Herbal Intensive – Level 1

The Community Herbal Intensive is a hands-on approach to learning for anyone who wants to learn about wild foods and medicinal plants. CHI – Level 1 covers these topics (scroll down for info on CHI 2):

  • Basic botany and plant identification
  • From field to apothecary: wild crafting, foraging, and garbling
  • Medicine making: oils, salves, tinctures, cordials, and more
  • Materia medica: the study of herbal actions
  • Constitution and Energetics: how to match the herbal actions in plants to people
  • Basic anatomy and physiology
  • Creating herbal projects
  • Basic herb safety
CHI  2015: Peggy, Claudia, Jessica, Stephanie, Chris, Julie, Leah, (Cris is taking the picture).

Is the CHI for you?
This program is for anyone interested in beginning or enhancing their studies of herbalism in a hands-on environment. Participants learn basic herbal knowledge, skills, and ideas to create family or community projects that emphasize holistic health, folk medicine, education, gardening, and/or foraging. The primary goals are to teach people to safely use wild plants, as food and medicine; and to create herbal projects that nourish and heal.


Cris holds up a page from her bug and plant book for children.

Herbal Projects
Some projects past students have created:

  • an herbal book for children (see above)
  • nature immersion for children with attention-deficit and learning difficulties
  • gratitude herbalism: a monthly gift for people who have made contributions to their communities
  • plant identification for children in outdoor programs
  • community garden projects

CHI Field Trips!
To ensure that participants learn to identify a wide variety of plants, we will go on several field trips to see some of the different ecosystems in northeast Ohio and western Pennsylvania. These ecosystems range from hardwood forests, pine barrens, creek and river banks, fields, gardens, and the Lake Erie shore.

Collaborative Learning Environment
Nurses, massage therapists, yoga teachers, naturalists, wilderness guides, and herbalists have joined the CHI in pursuit of plant knowledge, healing, and community health. Participants will work together to create herbal projects to heal themselves, improve family health, or bring herbs to their communities. They will have opportunities to learn from each other and continue to build community around plants and healing in the region. Many of the classes will be held in the Seed House (read more about its construction here).


The Instructor
Leah Wolfe, MPH, will facilitate the workshops. Leah is a community herbalist and health educator. She and Charles Schiavone started the Trillium Center at BLD farm in 2013. She facilitates many different kinds of classes. Her teaching style interweaves science with intuition and hands-on experience in order to engage students on multiple levels. She hopes to inspire participants to deepen their understanding of plants while engaging with local communities to develop projects that improve health and facilitate healing. Leah teaches classes and provides medical support across the country for gardening groups, conferences, camps, and other gatherings. She has a background in public health research and health education.

For Leah, herbalism is based on relationship. Relationship with community. Relationship with friends and family. Relationship with self. And, of course, relationship with each plant. Those relationships should be characterized by respect, willingness to learn, the courage to help when help is needed, and direct experience. Direct experience is important because it requires being present and engaged in the process, whether that process is dealing with a conflict, learning about a new plant medicine, or working with a community that’s been hit by a disaster.

The workshops will be held on the second Saturday of each month at the Trillium Center, March to November. Workshops will be held from 10 am-5 pm. Field trips will allow participants to see other ecosystems.

The cost  of the program is $895: this covers the program materials, the Herbal Foundations textbook, supplies and ingredients for medicine making, along with administrative and teaching costs. Payment plans may be available to people who sign up early. If you need a payment plan or ideas for financial assistance, please contact us.

CHI 2 went to Detroit to see Matthew Wood talk about Southern Blood Typology.

Community Herbal Intensive – Level 2

Community Herbalism is an art and a science. It is the practice of learning how to integrate herbs and wild edible plants with deep nourishment to improve health. As that information is shared, health radiates out to the community. Health is a human right and a community herbalist works toward empowering self and others to grasp that right through plant knowledge and application. CHI–2 builds on the foundation established in the Community Herbal Intensive.

CHI – Level 2 :

  • Refine knowledge about herbs and the foundations of Western Herbalism so that herbs are applied holistically to address underlying imbalances that lead to disease rather than as substitutes for over-the-counter and pharmaceutical medicines.
  •  Materia medica: continue the study of herbal actions
  • How to assess herb safety and current research
  • Methods of herbal formulation
  • Practical herbalism: daily herbal living through cooking and home remedies.
  • Practice consultations as a group to develop assessment skills for applying herbs based on the principles of Western Herbalism
  • Complete home practice and study activities such as assessments with friends or family
  • Share ideas and lessons learned about herbal projects.

People who complete the Community Herbal Intensive – Level 1 are eligible to apply for the CHI – Level 2. If you completed a basic herbal program or have the knowledge or experience covered in Level 1, you might be able to join Level 2 without completing Level 1. Contact us for details.

The CHI-2 will be a small group (2-3 people) that meets monthly March through November (note: the exact schedule will be set by the group). The other assignments and activities will be completed at home or in the community.

  • CHI-2 monthly meeting and potluck (6 hours per month)
  • self-directed project (4 hours per month)
  • self-study including botanical illustration and plant worksheets (2-4 hours per month)
  • make one medicine per month to share with the group (1-2 hours per month)

This program is new and still developing so the cost is lower than CHI – Level 1. The total cost is currently $625. For more details, contact us.

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