Plant Practicum

Hands on Immersion

February 10 – 17, 2025
La Huerta Farm School
La Libertad, San Mateo, Costa Rica

Register BEFORE October 1, 2024 and save $300

Join us for a 8 day, 7 night immersion connecting with the beauty of the Machuca River and the abundant plants of the Jungle. Exploring the energetics, ecological niches, therapeutics, garden design strategy and maintenance, natural pigments and medicine making techniques.

This training is for those looking to learn from seed to soil, from soil to apothecary the importance of holistic herbalism. We need to care for plants in place, connecting with the bioregion around us. Students will gain insight as to how to build their own medicinal plant garden that will serve their families and communities. There are fewer radical acts than health advocacy and sovereignty, and it starts with your relationship with land. 

A fully integrated experience, students will get to live at the blossoming La Huerta Farm School, an emerging permaculture farm and food forest with impressive installations. A moment for slow and simple living. We do not believe in exclusive, fancy experiences that are not close to the reality that many of us are living. We want to demonstrate what it is to be with land, to create relationships with plants and humans.

Located on the original lands of the Huetar peoples, La Huerta is trying to steward and care for land in the most respectful and gentle way possible. Situated near the crystal clear Machuca River, in a secondary valley, there are terraced gardens, water systems and the beginnings of a food forest. Students will learn the process of caring for a piece of land with the intention of creating a fruitful, medicinal paradise that will feed generations to come.

Who is this for?

Students of the Regenerative Herbalism: Plant Practicum are those who love plants, want to take time to learn with them and for those of all levels who want to perfect their skills, learn new ones, connect with the tropical ecosystem and be a part of the herbal community.

The Program

Each day will be a blend of teachings in the classroom in order for participants to understand well the afternoon activity.

The opening day is dedicated to arrival, getting settled and having a meaningful opening circle and orientation. Here everyone shares their dedication and love of plants and what their intention is for being here. The evening continues with a fire and offering to the spirit of the land. This day will have a robust snack and tea selection, with dinner at the regular hour.

Start the morning with a farm tour of La Huerta. The first class is dedicated to an interactive understanding of the ethics and principles of Permaculture, followed by getting our hands in soil with an exercise in soil preparation, plant care and sensory exploration of the garden.

Begin the morning with a plant meditation and walk. The second class day will cover the foundations of garden design, including bioregional specific considerations, water systems and planting cycles. In the afternoon we will get our hands back on plants and implement the design we came up with in class. Then we end the evening with a fire under the full moon, sharing the energetics of the lunar rhythm and archetypal impacts.

The third class day will cover the foundations of Astro Herbalism, reviewing the energetic correspondences between the signs, planet and plants for potentizing your garden and medicines. In the afternoon we will start making medicines with water extracts and tinctures.

Class day four will be dedicated in the morning to the energies of Venus and Cacao! We will make scrubs, cordials, infusions and a mole for dinner. In the afternoon we will work with plant pigments, dying our clothes and natural bags sourced from a local neighbor.

Begin class day five with a medicinal plant walk, then taking the morning session to learn about Herbal Energetics and the dynamics of Tastes. In the afternoon session we will return to medicine making with herbal honeys, vinegars, oils, and salves.

Class day six starts with a medicinal plant walk. The morning session dives into herbal skin care, making poultices, scrubs, serums, and masks that we take to the river for sunny indulging. In the afternoon we will work with herbal smokes, smoke wand, broomsticks and have our closing ceremony followed by our final dinner and fire with cacao.

Our closing day offers breakfast and time to pack up and visit the river one last time.

Your Facilitators

Sarah Wu is a passionate educational curator, facilitator and mentor dedicated to adult learners of all backgrounds. A representative for Mother Nature as a writer and teacher of Deep Ecology, Therapeutic Spiritual Ecology and Whole Systems Design shared through the lens of Herbalism and Permaculture. Sarah Wu has 24 years studying and practicing the science, art and craft of Regenerative Herbal Medicine. Her foundation is in eclectic energetic and Western Wise Woman Traditions, actively practicing clinical herbalism in the Neo-Tropics for 15 years. With 30 and counting, 75+hour Permaculture Design Courses (PDC) in her portfolio, which encompasses earth sciences, regenerative strategies for human settlement design, community development and alternative social structuring. She can teach all aspects of herbal medicine from Materia Medica, ethnobotany, medicine making, formulation and anatomy/physiology. Sarah teaches workshops to young women, 10 – 16 years old about their physical and spiritual bodies in correspondence with lunar and planetary rhythms. Sarah attended the Tyler School of Art, where she immersed herself in the Fine Arts and Art History, Mythology, Symbolism and Philosophy. She is well versed, teaching archetypal symbolism and storytelling for personal reflection via Tarot and Modern Astrology.

A producer at heart, Sarah loves curating courses, workshops and events tailored to community, deep ecology, regenerative design and holistic health that highlight diverse and dynamic facilitators. Sarah is the friendly Village Witch, co-founder and producer of Envision Festival, a 10,000 person arts and culture event in Costa Rica (2011-present), where she curates the educational offerings spanning six stages and 300 hours.

Sarah has been featured on numerous podcasts, online interviews and print publications. She has studied with numerous leaders in the Western Herbalism renaissance, such as David Winston, Rosemary Gladstar, Paul Bergner, Sajah Popham and 7Song and has worked in disaster relief efforts in Guatemala and at Natural Doctor’s International on the island of Omatepe, Nicaragua. An international facilitator, Sarah has brought her teachings to the United States, Guatemala, Costa Rica, Panama, Cuba, Italy, Portugal, France, Germany, and Greece.

Sarah lives with her husband, animals, plants and community off-the-grid half the year at their 2500 square meter homestead of the broader Tacotal Colectivo in the low mountains of Costa Rica, and the other half of the year in the coastal mountains of the La Marche region of Italy on a 1 hectare permaculture farm, in both locations they tend the land, teach, make medicine and host events.

Celia Hale is a farmer, plant lover, earthen pigment hunter, natural builder, artist, and forever a child of the wild. She is dedicated to the path of discovery that the earth brings when we wonder of another way to live and connect with our surroundings. A way where we know the trees that grow in our backyard, where we see the earth as a sentient being, and where we devote ourselves to this most constant relationship.

Her journey started through regenerative agriculture and led her to the interdisciplinary practice of kinship with land. She found her way to Punta Mona Center in Costa Rica where she extended her work into the realms of herbal medicine, permaculture, community design, natural building, and earthen art. There she facilitated various courses and workshops all centered around building literacy in earth based skills and philosophy.

Now she lives in the beautiful lowland mountains of Costa Rica on shared land, growing a living farm project. Here Celia and her partner work to build gardens, regenerate degraded pasture land, make herbal medicine, experiment with natural building and art techniques, and build community in their area. The goals of the project are to build food, medicine, and water sovereignty, to create an education space where people can collect land based knowledge, as well as become a living seed bank and a sanctuary for biodiversity that advocates for the importance of human stewardship and creativity as a force of regeneration and vitality for all.

Celia’s central value is to transmit the knowledge that has been shared with her. She believes education to be the root of change and activism. She has a passion for bringing education and coursework through the mind and into the body, the heart, and then to the earth and to our communities.

The Venue

La Huerta Farm School is a living farm and classroom with a focus on experimentation and discovery. What does it really take to create regenerative living systems? This is a question on the hearts of the La Huerta crew, and one that requires consistent tending and curiosity. La Huerta Farm School is developing practices in Syntropic agriculture, watershed restoration, natural building, gardening, art, herbalism, and weaving together human spaces with wild spaces to create abundance and vitality for all. The mission and vision is to create a model for ways of living that link us back into connection with the natural world while also providing for our human needs. The hope is that these regenerative systems can create a space of inspiration, abundance, and beauty where people can come to find themselves again as a part of the living web and as stewards of the earth.

Students stay in comfortable glamping tents under the established mango trees and along the terraces. Facilities are shared compost toilets and showers. The outdoor classroom and kitchen are comfortable, airy and spacious. Surrounded by plants, trees and a creek, students will hear and see many bird, insect and reptile species and possibly even monkeys!

Getting to Us:

La Huerta is an easy taxi ride from the airport, costing around $50-70. We will connect students later on to coordinate rides.

Just put into Waze or Google Maps “La Huerta Farm School”

XGF5+9QX, Provincia de Alajuela, San Mateo, Libertad

An easy drive without the need for 4×4 we can also accommodate parking if you are driving yourself in.

You can also take a bus to Orotina and from there a $20 taxi ride. We will supply contacts as the time arrives.

Tuition

Early Bird Tuition $1300 Shared Accommodations
Register BEFORE October 1, 2024 and save $300

Regular Tuition $1600

We try to make it as easy for people to attend as possible.

We ask for a $400 non-refundable deposit to hold your space.

Followed by a second deposit of $300 paid no later than December 1 and the final tuition paid in cash USD or CRC current equivalent.

Space is limited to 22 people in shared glamping accommodations.

Private space is available upon request.

We work really hard to make sure the tuition is fair as we understand the limitations of an economic system that strives to keep people stressed.

In the spirit of financial transparency:

30% of your tuition goes to the facilitators and assistants

50% of your tuition goes toward food and accommodations

20% of your tuition pays course materials and bank fees

We also have special prices for those with economic limitations and ask that you reach out directly to enquire. Please be mindful that as herbalists, farmers and teachers our income is also very limited, as most of us work below the median income standards for the country we live in and very much below the standards of the Global North. We work independently and out of capitalistic systems that cause extractive harm.

What to Bring

The weather will be hot during the day at 85˚F/29˚C and comfortable in the night. Sunny days with seasonal wind and very low chances for rain. Students will be in an outdoor classroom and in the garden or kitchen. We are in the tropics where there are exponentially more insects that mammals, we believe the best insect repellent is long lightweight clothing.

We are on the grid and have internet and charging stations.

We recommend you bring:

  • Headlamp/Flashlight
  • Sarong, towel for the river
  • Comfortable lightweight clothing that you dont mind getting dirty
  • Shorts
  • Long lightweight pants or skirts
  • Tanks and T Shirts
  • Long light weight shirt if you are esoecially sensitive to the sun
  • Hat and Sunglasses
  • Closed toe shoes (sneakers are great, no hiking boots)
  • Comfortable sandals
  • Swim Suit
  • Biodegradable body care and sunscreen
  • Personal snacks
  • Personal travel cup and water bottle
  • Notebook
  • Garden gloves
  • Garden and/or kitchen apron