Alive and Wild Apprenticeship:  Foraging and Growing with the Seasons

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Want to learn to grow and forage your own food year round?  Ever wonder how to most efficiently and effectively feed yourself without a grocery store?  Want to learn to wildcraft herbal medicines?  Curious about how to do this honorably, with upmost respect for the plants and ecosystems?

This apprenticeship focuses on foraging and growing food through the seasons.  By the end of the program you will have the skills and experience necessary to grow and harvest your own food.  This is a learn by doing apprenticeship.  While we are learning skills to carry forward into subsequent growing seasons, we are also going to get a harvest.  The apprenticeship will culminate in a Personally Farmed and Foraged Feast Fast, where we eat only the food that we grew, gathered and processed for a full week!

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We will also explore medicinal uses of our harvests by making tinctures, dried herbs for tea, salves, and mead. We will get hands on experience with permaculture as it relates to soil building, plant guilds, garden and orchard health, mycorrhizal relationships, and perennial agriculture.  Apprentices will experience the different tasks involved in fruit and nut tree and shrub maintenance throughout the year including planting, pruning, fertilizing, mulching, and propagating.

Apprentices will learn how to:  
* Honorably harvest wild foods in special spots in the western North Carolina mountains

* Process foraged wild greens, roots, berries, and nuts into culinary delights
* Learn about the traditional practice of "the three sisters" gardening of corn, beans, and squash using permaculture soil building techniques
* Get your hands dirty growing a field of sweet potatoes for an easy to grow nutrient dense, climate appropriate staple crop.
* Tap into the abundance all around by "urban gleaning", finding abandoned or unused fruit and nut trees to harvest from.
* Heal yourself and your community with locally foraged medicines
* Brew locally sourced herbal meades.

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As well as learning a wealth of practical skills, we will also embark on a spiritual journey of connecting deeply with the Earth and the power of community.   We are building relationship to the earth through knowing the source of our sustenance and healing. From experiencing hands on how to nourish our bodies, a beautiful and connected life-way emerges. A life-way more in balance and harmony with the natural world. This path includes earth skills, nature connection practices, natural crafts, bird language, honorable harvest practices, fire by friction, ecosystem relationships, animal processing, and so much more. Throughout our forays and gardening we will talk about what it looks like to be part of a regenerative culture and move towards that together through skills, awareness practices, and ceremony.

Each apprentice will make a large cache and apothecary from the year with items such as:
* Wild Greens Gomacio
* Nutritive Herbal Vinegars
* Wild Greens Pesto
* Dried Greens, ramps, mushrooms, and fruit
* Herbal Salves
* Corn, dry beans, squash and sweet potatoes
* Chestnut and/or acorn flour
* Canned fruit
* Fruit leather
* Apple and/or Pear Cider
* Black Walnuts and Hickory Nuts
* Various tinctures
* Various dried medicinal herbs
* Herbal Mead with local honey

We will meet every other Tuesday from April to October, including 2 overnight wilderness camping adventures.  The dates are all on the calendar of this event, and are subject to change.  Each day we will visit different forests, garden plots, and homesteads where we will learn to ID, harvest, grow, propagate, and process wild and grown food.  There will be optional assignments given between class days.  Each apprentice can schedule a check in call on the off week to discuss projects, ask questions, and get advice.

Apprenticeship Requirements:
* Reliable transportation
* Must be in average physical condition.  Able to walk a mile at a moderate pace
* Must be willing to do some labor, growing food and making medicines are joys that take work

Cost of the apprenticeship is on a sliding scale based on income.  $1,150 - $1,450.  The first two registrants get an early bird discount of $150.  A $250 deposit ensures your registration.  Payment plans available.

The apprenticeship is roughly 150 hours of teaching time.

Payment can be made after a short application and interview process.  

 

About the facilitator:  Scotty Karas

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After completing his degree in engineering, Scotty began studying permaculture, herbalism, yoga, wild foods, and primitive skills in 2008 and has never looked back. He currently mentors youth in nature connection and education with the Forests Floor Wilderness Program, and has his own business doing Permaculture design and Edible Landscaping.  He has his Permaculture Design Certification with Living Routes in Massachusetts and completed a 450 hour herbal medicine program the Chestnut School of Herbal Medicine in 2011.  Over the last years, Scotty has immersed himself in nature awareness and naturalist studies through the self-study Kamana Naturalist Training Program.  Each year he seeks to bio-diversify his diet by growing and wildcrafting new foods and herbs and learning to identify and use different local plants.  Scotty has completed a personally farmed and foraged feast fast from his harvests for 10 and 11 days respectively the last two years and wants to share how to do this with you!

A tools and materials list, recommended reading list, and resources for further study will be provided upon registration, or request.  Depending on what you already have, and how deep you're wanting to go, you will probably spend an additional $150-$400 on practical materials like : a knife, pruners, various tools, books, alcohol, honey, jars, tincture bottles, seeds, plant starts, etc....