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Foraging Workshops -

Balancing the Banes of Summer

Site under construction


Spring/Summer Foraging - Balancing the Banes of Summer

Where: Scottsville, Va - we will convene at The Barefoot Country Store. Parking is available on the street. There is also a small public parking area near the BP station. Participants will be emailed a map of the town showing available parking as part of their information package.

Duration of Outing: It depends on the participants, but most workshops of this type last 3-4 hours

Difficulty: Moderately Easy - the most difficult aspects of this workshop are the short (but steep) bank that leads to the trails over the dam and keeping your footing on the few areas where the landscape can be slippery.


Are you one of the unfortunate folks who are susceptible to the horrors of Poison Ivy? Do mosquitoes eat you alive and leave you with maddeningly itchy welts? Does a little too much time in the sun mean days of discomfort to follow?

If you're one of the people who are affected by these things (or any of the other skin irritants that go hand in hand with summertime) and you're tired of trekking to the drugstore to buy expensive and chemical-laden concoctions in an effort to find some relief, maybe you should consider coming along with us to learn to identify and harvest the multitude of botanicals which have been used historically to provide that relief you are seeking.

Nearly all of the plants identified in this workshop can be found very close to your home, and you may be amazed to realize that there are a couple of them that actually grow in your yard!

If you think it would be really cool to walk into the woods, a field, or even your own backyard, and be able to not only spot these fascinating plants among their green neighbors, but also be able to understand what they were used for and why, then chances are that you would really enjoy this workshop! Foraging for specific plants is like a treasure hunt, and when you are not only able to locate a stand of what you are searching for, but be able to return to it time after time to watch it's life cycle and growth, season after season, it's an immensely satisfying and empowering connection to the natural world.

Each foraging workshop will focus on the variety of plants that are in season at that time. Location and identification techniques (i.e. - what type of environment the plant thrives in, and therefore, where to look for it, as well as what physical characteristics are key to identifying the plant) will be shared with the workshop participants. Harvesting information will also be discussed (including an overview of laws/regulatory requirements and sustainable practices), as well as what other plants out there may be "look-a-likes" (and what you need to know about those).

In addition to the practical aspects of preferred environment, identification, harvesting, and cautionary information, a historical overview of what each plant was used for (and how - tinctures, infusions, distillation, drying, and the like) will also be provided.

How to Prepare:

~ Prepare as you would to go on a moderate day hike. Wear sensible clothing and shoes that are geared for being on land and in the water. You're going to be sitting on rocks and wading through a natural landscape - shorts and a sensible shirt work well. As to footwear - old tennis shoes or water shoes work well. Flip-flops are NOT a good idea, as they tend to get hung up on things like sticks, rocks and roots. Going barefoot is also an option, if you're accustomed to it, but you should definitely bring good walking shoes for backup. Bring a small handtowel!

~ If you want to bring a camera, please do so - the area is gorgeous and full of photographic opportunities. If you have the option to bring an "outdoor" camera that is water and shock proof, that would be your best choice.

~ As to sunscreen, bug spray and other things: the area that we will be visiting is primarily shaded. If you are extremely fair skinned or require the use of sunscreen for health reasons, we understand. If you can get by without it, that's for the best, as we are keenly against depositing harmful chemicals of any kind into the waterways. The same goes for bug repellent - we rarely have issues with mosquitoes because most of the water we encounter is flowing, and not conducive to hatching larvae. Bugs are a part of nature, so yes, we're going to encounter them, but we tend to accept their presence rather than trying to fight against it. Please do NOT use strongly scented lotions, perfumes, or other toiletries on the day of the outing.

~ You should bring water and a snack or two, or pick some things up at the Barefoot Store, Baines Coffe, or another spot close by!

When you sign up for a foraging workshop, you will be emailed specific and pertinent information about the workshop, including an overview of what plants we will be planning to look for, the location where we will be foraging (along with approximate travel distance/time from the Earth Goods shop to that location), any important information about the environment at the foraging location (whether it's rocky, wet, hilly, etc), along with any other information that you may need to know in order to make your experience as enjoyable as possible. You can expect to receive this email approximately two weeks prior to the date of the workshop. If you have any questions about the workshop, please email us!

* As we all are aware, the medical/pharmaceutical industries and the FDA have deemed it illegal to suggest that something born of nature and free for the harvesting could have any health benefit whatsoever (real or implied), and therefore, we at Earth Goods are making no such claim (real or implied), hence the use of the word "historical" in the second sentence of the above description. This foraging workshop is intended for those who are interested in learning the historical (again, there's that word) value of certain plants for which our grandmothers (and maybe even an herbalist or two) attributed certain beneficial properties. For example, we would never suggest that there may be any actual truth to the historical claim that Jewelweed can counteract the effects of Poison Ivy, only that thousands of people before us believed that it did, and just in case your own ancestors were some of them, we'll show you how to find it and identify it (along with whatever other historical plants are in season at the time) so that any tendency toward nostalgia that you may have can be duly satisfied.

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