Old Ways Herbal School of Plant Medicine offers a personalized, hands-on apprentice program for students looking for an in-depth, deeply personal, transformative experience. The Traditional Apprentice Program is a 6-month program that takes place over the course of a growing season and involves all aspects of our herbal practice with individual mentorship. We also offer the High Summer Apprentice Program in July and August only.
Our apprenticeship is not classroom-based; instead, we learn by doing, and in the process apprentices provide an essential service with the work of their hands, in exchange for intensive personal mentorship. If you’re interested in personalized learning about companion planting, growing at-risk medicinals, growing medicinal foods and edible medicines, wildcrafting in harmony with the turn of the year, and making and using a wide variety of medicines, then this is a good program for you. Apprentice Application here
Apprentices work side by side with Juliette to learn skills related to medicinal plant propagation and cultivation, botanical sanctuary and food forest maintenance, organic gardening and harvesting, wildcrafting, medicine making techniques, plant identification and basic botany, formulation, clinical assessment skills, food as medicine, and much more. Curriculum is tailored to the individual interests and needs of each year’s apprentices, to ensure that they get the most out of their experience.
We work primarily from a bioregional perspective, with native and invasive plants of the Northeast. As the season blooms and goes to seed we discuss the medicinal uses of the plants around us from the perspectives of Traditional Western Herbalism, Folk Herbalism, and Medical Herbalism, informing our understanding with aspects of other philosophies including Ayurveda and Chinese Medicine.
Apprentices complete a personal culmination project that reflects their unique interests in herbalism. Past culmination projects have included multi-year garden plans, a garden plot, clinical intakes, materia medica, and co-teaching workshops. Apprentices receive a certificate reflecting completion of the program, their culmination project, and hours of study.
We are located in Newfane, Vermont, 20 minutes from Brattleboro on the unceded traditional lands of the Elnu Abenaki of Ndakinna. For more information about our farm and practice, please read About Us and School of Plant Medicine.
Schedule: The Traditional Apprentice program runs May through October, about 135 hours over 26 weeks of herbal immersion. Apprentices are here 3-4 Fridays per month, and additionally are expected to assist at the live online program one Sunday per month. The exact hours will be determined as it gets closer.
COVID-dependent: If we are running in-person courses for the public, those will be on Saturday mornings and the expectation is that at least 1 apprentice is available to assist. There are additional opportunities that pop up throughout the season such as trips to conferences and events.
The High Summer Program runs in July and August, 3-4 Fridays per month, as well as the live online courses one Sunday per month (see up), about 55 hours over 9 weeks.
Materials There are several required books and tools for the program, which are necessary for harvesting, wild-crafting, and making herbal medicine. Significant effort has been made to ensure this is not expensive, and that any required materials will serve you for years or decades to come.
Selection Process Because of the personal nature of the program, we can only accept 1-3 apprentices per season. It is simply not possible to tailor the curriculum to more people than that. We are looking for reliable people with a desire to learn who can make the time commitment and share our philosophy of tending the land and respecting our plant community. Preference is given to candidates who demonstrate a true desire to expand their herbal knowledge. It is important to note that this program is what you make of it. Formal herbal education experience is not required.
Lodging For apprentices who are traveling from a distance to study, we offer a beautiful primitive campsite in our forest free of charge if you need a place to stay the night before your workday.
Accessibility Talk to us about your barriers. We are happy to find workable solutions whenever possible. In the past we have made accommodations for lack of childcare, lodging obstacles, etc. COVID-19 makes things complicated; we will do our best.
Applications, Deadlines, & Tuition Apprentice Application here. Applications will be reviewed and followed by a phone interview to ensure our perspectives are a good match. An application deposit of $100 to hold your place is due with your completed application (applied to tuition if you are accepted, refunded if you are not). Application deposits are fully refundable up to the application deadline. Your deposit will be refunded if you are not chosen for the apprenticeship. The remainder of the fee is due by two weeks before the beginning of the program. Payment plans are available, but additional work-trade is not.
Traditional Program: Tuition $2690, price includes a work-trade component ($2590 owed after application deposit). Application deadline April 1. Accepted apprentices will be included in online courses starting in April, even if we cannot yet meet in person, so get your applications in!
High Summer Program: Tuition $1090 ($990 owed after application deposit). Application deadline April 15. Accepted apprentices will be included in online courses starting in April, even if we cannot yet meet in person, so get your applications in!
If you have questions or want more information, contact us. We love to hear from you.