Frequently Asked Questions

Where to begin

Do you offer a beginners class?

Yes, each year we do offer our fantastic and popular 3–day Beginners’ Intensive program. The exact timing of this class varies. If upcoming dates haven’t been posted yet, contact us and let us know you’re interested.

Intermediate Program

What are the prerequisites for your Intermediate Program?

There are a number of ways to qualify for enrollment. Most students have been interested in herbs for a number of years, dabbled in basic medicine making, and are ready to learn more. The majority of our students have studied basic herbalism from books and weekend workshops.
Some have taken beginner classes such as Rosemary Gladstar’s. Many have been raised around herbs or are now raising their own children using herbs as medicine.

How much does the Intermediate Program cost and what are the additional costs I will incur while taking this class?

The current price is $1995 plus 5% gst. That price includes all your classes, teaching materials and extensive medicine making supplies. In addition you are required to purchase six books which will cost about $100 total for new paperback books. You will also be purchasing some additional medicine making supplies for making your own medicine at home. Depending on which herbs, alcohol etc. you buy, it will range from $100-200. We will provide a ,resource list that will assist you in finding good quality supplies.

What if I am a beginner and really want to take the Intermediate course?

Each year we consider a student or two who are newer to herbalism, but keen and willing to put in extra time before class. We have seen some of our best graduates start this way. This is essentially what we tell them: “So basically you are going to teach yourself beginner herbalism! Congratulations, you will save probably $1000 by skipping beginner courses… Expect, however, to spend around 40-60 hours prior to the course studying.

“The assignments are as follows: Please study cover to cover Medicinal Plants of the Pacific West by Michael Moore. It is a delightful read and will likely become your most used herbal book Also: The Herbal Medicine Maker’s Handbook by James Green.

“Please read this book and make at least one of each of the following: infused oil, salve, tincture, decoction, and infusion (all folk method). You will also benefit from basic books like Herbal Healing for Women by Rosemary Gladstar, and browsing a Pojar and Mackinnon plant I.D. book so you can be unafraid of botany and Latin nomenclature.”

If upon your completion of the application, we feel you are too ‘beginner’ for this year’s group, we will point you in the direction you may want to go with next in your studies.

What type of work might I be qualified for after graduating from the Intermediate course?

A number of our graduates have found jobs in herb stores and herbal departments in health food stores. Others continue studying and later develop clinical practice. Some make herbal medicines to sell. The hours at our school count toward your professional enrolment in the American Herbalist Guild and the Canadian Herbal Association of BC, if you choose to do so. There is currently not a formal Canadian body that certifies herbalists. We find our graduates are well regarded in the herbal community due to their training and ethics.

Participation logistics

How much homework do I need to do?

The old adage “you get out what you put into it” is very fitting. Reviewing and studying outside of class will allow you to get much more from your in-class time. For both Intermediate and Case Study, expect to spend 5–20 hours per month, depending on how much knowledge you are starting with, and how serious you are about herbalism. People come from all over to attend
our classes, so chances are you can form a local study group with other current students in your area.

Where do I stay while studying on Saltspring?

Some local lodgings offer themselves affordably to our students. During moderate weather some people choose to camp. Sometimes our Saltspring-based students are able to put up some of the folks from off island. You may also wish to place an ad on the Saltspring list serve to find a billet.

What do I need to bring to class?

Most importantly bring your willingness to learn and participate! Also something to write with, a vegetarian packed lunch (we provide a kitchen where you can reheat food, and we provide tea). We will let you know if there are special items you’ll need for certain classes (we remind you), for instance warm outside clothes for plant walks.

What if I need to miss a weekend?

If you miss more than 2 classes you will be required to do makeup work.

Payment Considerations:

Do you offer payment plans?

If you know it would be a stretch to pay for one of our programs in full, we are open to alternate arrangements.

When you apply, please tell us what your ideal payment plan would be — using the ‘additional comments’ field on the corresponding online registration form. We will do our best to accommodate you. For example, some people pay their whole tuition at the beginning, and some pay in three month instalments, while others are monthly. We will require post-dated cheques before or on the 1st day of class, whichever plan we agree on.

Generally we do not offer payment plans for the 3-day Beginners’ Intensive.

Is work-trade an option?

If you think you’ll need partial or full work trade please tell us what skills you have to offer. We will contact you to discuss this further. Work-trade fills up fast, so this option may or may not be available.

Do I need a Paypal account to pay online using my credit card?

No — Paypal is our online payment processor, but all you need is your credit card information. You do not need to have a Paypal account to pay course fees using paypal.

Why does it cost more to pay via Paypal than by e-Transfer?

It costs us to offer this payment option, but for some of our customers, the convenience of paying by credit card is worth the approximately 3% extra.

How do I send an e-Transfer? I've never done that and I don't know how.

Our preferred payment method is e-Transfer. When registering for one of our programs and selecting e-Transfer as your payment method, as soon as you submit your application you will immediately receive an email with payment instructions, including our email address and requested password.

This is not an automated process; you must initiate a transfer via your online banking account (or app on your mobile phone).

If you’re unsure how to do this, please contact us and we’ll do our best to help you.

Withdrawal & refund policy

What is the policy for withdrawing from a class and what do you consider a "hardship withdrawal?”

A hardship withdrawal is a situation in which someone in your family becomes ill or dies during
your enrollment; or you are diagnosed with a medical condition that prohibits you from continuing. In these cases we will refund 50% of your remaining tuition minus the deposit. If in the future we offer those classes you missed because of this hardship and there is room in that class, you may attend for the same price (ie. if you were refunded $500 then you can repay that and take classes you missed). When you make a financial commitment to our school we also make a financial commitment on your behalf. You may already know this: the cost of administration, teachers, materials, assistants, and facilities are all based on the number students enrolled. When we plan the course at the beginning of the year, we size each according to the number of students. If you withdraw from a class, we continue to incur operational expenses whether or not we continue to receive payment from you.

That being said, we are not heartless and will do our best to accommodate you if you have unexpected hardship in your life while studying with us.

What is your refund policy?

  1. With 30 or more days left before the start of class, you are entitled to a full refund, minus a non-refundable 20% deposit, if you let us know in writing.
  2. Between 30-14 days before the first day of class, you will receive a 50% refund (minus the non-refundable deposit).
  3. Except in the case of emergency or “hardship” withdrawal, no refunds will be given for course withdrawal less than 14 days before the start of the course.

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