The program and workshop descriptions are still being confirmed but workshops so far include the following:
Saturday 17th February
Herb Tasting sessions: A chance to get to know a few mystery herbs in depth: these sessions involve tasting of both tea and tincture, listening in to our bodies’ reactions and reflecting on how the herb is acting. We’ll share any previous experience that people have of using the herb and what it can be good for. There will be books to research further and compare findings together.
Solidarity Medicine Making with Herbal Unity This will be a practical session to collectively make herbal remedies for use in the Herbal Unity Clinic in Glasgow. Herbal Unity is a free clinic offering herbal consultations, medicines and massage to people affected by the asylum process and their allies. It will be an opportunity to learn how to make simple medicines which can be repeated at home with recipes provided, at the same time as providing practical support & solidarity to others fleeing from oppression & conflict. We will probably make up a tea and a muscle rub and explore some of the herbs involved in the recipes. Suggested donation to cover the costs of the materials is £3 per person. You will take something home with you and also leave something to be distributed to migrant communities.
History of Herbal Medicine and viewing old herbal books. A short talk on the history of UK Herbal Medicine followed by a viewing some of the first printed herbals (limited numbers, sign up will be available on Saturday morning).
Winter Tree Identification : Exploring various methods to identify common tree species during Winter, when leaves are usually unavailable. (Limited numbers, sign up will be available on Saturday morning).
Challenging Fatphobia in Alternative Healthcare: Fatphobia is alive and well in healthcare, even within the alternative health community. It harms us directly and indirectly; when weight loss is suggested as the primary or only treatment for our conditions, when assumptions are made about our diet and lifestyles, when we are denied care based on our size, and when our justified fear of all of these things stops us even accessing care in the first place. This workshop will be a mix of information about the “Health at Every Size” philosophy, sharing strategies & ideas for navigating fatphobia, and space for discussion of our experiences of fatphobia in healthcare (sharing not compulsory!). This workshop is for both people who experience fatphobia (discrimination based on being “overweight”), and their allies. The workshop is facilitated by Emily, who has experience both as a fat activist and an NHS midwife.
Domestic Abuse Awareness for Health Practitioners A workshop aimed at anyone working or volunteering with people experiencing domestic violence or controlling relationships. What is domestic abuse, why does it happen, how does it affect survivors, what support do people need? A look at possible safe ways to intervene and support vs. the ways in which well-meaning people can increase the risk to those surviving abuse.
Anxiety & Mental Health: why do so many of us feel so anxious? This workshop will explore different ways to understand, cope with and treat anxiety.
Sunday 18th February
Healthcare and Capitalism A brief history of the development of contemporary healthcare provision in the UK from the enclosures onwards and its dependence (and so our dependence) on international networks of production and distribution. How precarious are these networks under climate change, and how does our dependence present major obstacles to ending capitalism without harming millions of people. What are the uses and limitations of herbal medicine in surviving the next century?
Herbs for your Pets A vets perspective on herbal veterinary medicine- where to find a vet, how to have the discussion with your vet, herbs to avoid in pets, sourcing herbs and tips for DIY herbal remedies for your pets.
Queer & Trans Encounters with Herbalism How are trans* and queer people interacting with herbs, and vice-versa? What challenges and opportunities are present to us? What do plants have to do with our bodies, desires and struggles anyway? And what is queer about (radical) herbalism? This is not an intro to queer/trans politics, but no curious or questioning soul should feel discouraged from attending. Further resources, info, and provocations will be provided. Bring your dreams, frustrations, friends and kin. Kay Cameron is editor of Gay Plants zine.
Treating the Cause not the Symptom: Radical Healing and Radical Politics Herbalism and other forms of complementary medicine, are often embraced because they offer alternative approaches to health(care). This can be especially important for folks alienated or dissatisfied by what mainstream/Western/allopathic medicine has to offer. Yet radical herbalism doesn’t only offer us extra tools for health and healing but also possibilities for understanding and strengthening political struggle & survival. Getting to the root and treating the cause not just the symptom is an important idea of both radical herbalism and radical political struggle. This session is an attempt to discuss what the relationships between radical herbalism/health and radical politics might be. We’ll talk about herbalism, Traditional Chinese Medicine, astrology and other forms of healing practices based on knowledge handed down over generations. We’ll also talk about the beauty of science and medicine, the relevance of capitalism, patriarchy and other forms of domination and what that can mean for us and how we think about and relate to knowledge and healing. Finally, we’ll try and talk about healing justice, touching on the ways it is embraced by Black liberation movements and what we can learn from this. The session is a mix of presentation and discussing thoughts and experiences.
Nature & Spirituality – Deepening our relationship with nature. In this workshop facilitated by Rabiah of The Herbal Blessing Clinic we will explore the role of our spirituality in deepening our relationship with nature. The current environmental crisis calls for new solutions and for many the part f the solution is the traditional idea that the environmental crisis is in fact a spiritual crisis. We will explore how nourishing a deep respect for nature, understanding of service and reconnecting to the idea of Oneness be an integral part of not only environmental activism, herbal medicine but of healing the Earth and ourselves. We will also explore some traditional practices of nature connection.
Growing Collaborative Community Herbalism – passions, skills, hands and networks with Rasheeqa Ahmad of Hedge Herbs. There is movement happening in the UK where growers, gatherers, makers and users of plant medicine are connecting and forming networks with exciting possibilities. The UK Medicinal Herb Growers Network formed from a conversation at the 2016 Radical Herbal Gathering that seeded a workshop in which herbalists, growers and enthusiasts came together to explore how we can connect our needs and resources: developing systems where locally cultivated plants are available for medicine made and used bioregionally, making for more exploratory, careful land and people connection; and how this can work alongside land rights and food sovereignty movements. In east London, Rasheeqa of the Rad Herb collective is forming a community apothecary project involving people in her area of Waltham Forest, with the aim of making a setup with different aspects: locally stewarded plant medicine, forming the basis of herbal healthcare, that is accessible to people in the community and informed by their needs, particularly focusing on those whose healthcare needs are not being met. Other inspiring projects include Hackney Herbal, a social enterprise that promotes health & wellbeing through growing and teaching about herbs in the community and they offer a model of supporting the development neighbourhood herb gardens as spaces for learning and healthcare. This session at Leeds Rad Herb will be an open sharing opportunity to explore what’s happening in West Yorkshire with community herbalism, to meet and connect with each other as growers, learners and makers to find out what possibilities there are to grow our networks of need, supply and resource. We invite all community gardeners and permaculturists, plant medicine makers and users, herbalists and healthcare activists to come and share ideas and what people are doing.